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Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week 

A Theological Inquiry 

William Reiser, S.J. 

BX3701 .S88x 
Current Periodicals 

38/3 • AUTUMN 2006 


The Seminar is composed of a number of Jesuits appointed from their provinces in the 
United States. 

It concerns itself with topics pertaining to the spiritual doctrine and practice of 
Jesuits, especially United States Jesuits, and communicates the results to the members of 
the provinces through its publication, STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF JESUITS. This is 
done in the spirit of Vatican II's recommendation that religious institutes recapture the 
original inspiration of their founders and adapt it to the circumstances of modern times. 
The Seminar welcomes reactions or comments in regard to the material that it publishes. 

The Seminar focuses its direct attention on the life and work of the Jesuits of 
the United States. The issues treated may be common also to Jesuits of other regions, to 
other priests, religious, and laity, to both men and women. Hence, the journal, while 
meant especially for American Jesuits, is not exclusively for them. Others who may find 
it helpful are cordially welcome to make use of it. 


James W. Bernauer, S.J., teaches philosophy at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. 

Richard A. Blake, S.J., is chairman of the Seminar and editor of STUDIES; he teaches 
film studies at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. (2002). 

James T. Bretzke, S.J., teaches theology at the University of San Francisco, San 
Francisco, Cal. (2006). 

Patrick J. Howell, S.J., is dean of the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle 
University, Seattle, Wash. (2006). 

T. Frank Kennedy, S.J. , teaches music and is director of the Jesuit Institute at 
Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. (2004). 

Mark S. Massa, S.J., is teaches theology and is director of the American Catholic 
Studies Program at Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y. (2006). 

Thomas J. Massaro, S.J., teaches moral theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theol- 
ogy, Cambridge, Mass. (2006). 

Gerald L. McKevitt, S.J., teaches history at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Cal. 

William E. Reiser, S.J., teaches theology at the College of the Holy Cross, Worces- 
ter, Mass. (2004). 

Philip J. Rosato, S.J., teaches theology at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pa. 

Thomas L Schubeck, S.J., teaches social ethics at John Carroll University, Univer- 
sity Heights, Ohio (2004). 

The opinions expressed in STUDIES are those of the individual authors thereof. 

Parentheses designate year of entry as a Seminar member. 

Copyright © 2006 and published by the Seminar on Jesuit Spirituality 

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Locating the Grace 
of the Fourth Week 

A Theological Inquiry 

William Reiser, S.J. 


38/3 • AUTUMN 2006 

The first word . 

Like most grave and learned fathers, I'd like to give the impression that I 
spend most evenings poring over my Schopenhauer and speed-reading 
Theological Investigations one more time. Well, perhaps as a practitioner of a 
peculiar discipline, I might even create the fantasy that I dedicate my 
leisure hours to wading through the periodicals to help me apply Jacques 
Lacan's psychoanalytic theory and Christian Metz's semiotics to my own 
revisionist reading of Bulgarian cartoons from the Soviet era. But no, this 
self-portrait leaves reality on the cutting-room floor. By day's end, I'm 
ready to exchange scholarship for junk television, and as difficult as it is to 
admit it, after a long day at the shop, I'm rarely capable of much else. And 
if the day included a writing project, the last thing to put on the agenda is 
more print. Karl Rahner or Mickey Spillane, it makes no difference. 

To salvage the shards of my reputation, however, let me insist I do 
have some self-respect. My tolerance for TV junk has limits. Is it merely 
the grumpiness of years, or have sitcoms become simply moronic since the 
days of Cheers, Mary Tyler Moore, and Newhart? After a day of faculty meet- 
ings and pouting teenagers, who needs to watch more dysfunctional fami- 
lies insulting one another over irrelevancies? Permit an exception for sev- 
eral of the "Britcoms" that seem to have an endless shelf life through 
reruns. Somehow, the British seem to do these things with a lot more wit 
and infinitely less nastiness than we do. Nor do I find it amusing to watch 
"ordinary" people face public humiliation in all these stupefying and pa- 
tently exhibitionistic "reality" shows. Quiz shows once built up audiences 
by orchestrating success for their anointed hero. Now television competi- 
tion programs feature failure: who's eliminated, who's rejected by the 
team, who's fired. 

The remote has provided a strange new relationship to sports. It 
allows me to check in on scores during commercials without having to sit 
through a whole game with its mindless chatter and endless timeouts for 
beer ads. Somebody has to pay for those multimillion-dollar salaries for 
star athletes, and better Bud Light than me with my paltry community 
budget. We old Dodger fans — the real Dodgers, not that band of poseurs 
prancing around Chavez Ravine in Dodger blue — can never quite come to 
terms with our history. We still watch the standings and wonder when our 
adopted children, the Mets, will self-destruct. Like the Red Sox in that 
other league, they find new, creative ways to break our hearts every year. 

This leaves cop shows, and here I must admit to reaching the brink 
of satiation every few weeks and then, like a compulsive gambler, coming 


back for another go. The networks have been ingenious in working varia- 
tions on the basic cops-and-robbers theme. Law and Order simply extended 
the story line from the traditional arrest ending to conviction and thus 
added the courtroom genre to the whodunit. It's been such a successful 
format that it spawned two spinoffs, with subtitles Criminal Intent and 
Special Victims Unit. At any hour of the day or night, some old episode of 
some version of Law and Order is showing on cable. 

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has been just as successful. In CSI the 
cop show mixes with science fiction and contemporary fascination with 
computers. Impossibly handsome forensic scientists cut the end off a Q-tip 
and drop it into a machine. While an insistent jazz beat creates the illu- 
sion of tension, they stare intently at a computer screen until the perpetra- 
tor's driver's license miraculously pops up on the monitor. The original 
was set in Las Vegas, but belying the tourist board's assurance that "what 
happens in Vegas stays in Vegas," the show now boasts offspring of dubi- 
ous legitimacy in Miami and New York. The formula is rigid: the head 
investigator has all the fun-loving personality of wallpaper paste and never 
moves his lips when he talks; his chief assistant is a gorgeous woman; the 
white male assistant is a loose cannon, while the African-American is a 
super-competent but unsmiling scientist. 

Other variations prove the flexibility within the formula. Crossing 
Jordan gives the impression that all forensic scientists are loose cannons, or 
at least they all have troubled personal lives that stir soap opera into the 
formula. The hero of Without a Trace lives through his own private soap 
opera, but he runs a no-nonsense team: again the beautiful assistant, the 
competent, super-serious African-American and a male assistant who has 
become addicted to painkillers. Criminal Minds and Numbers add a "boy 
genius" to the team to show their critics that they contain a constructive 
social message for the potential high-school dropouts in the audience: 
Nerds can be cool. Criminal Minds lightens the action by featuring a comic 
computer whiz, a fluttery woman who stays at the home office and pro- 
vides key information to her buddies in the field. She's positively prim in 
comparison to the vampire wannabe who runs the computer lab for NCIS 
(Navy Criminal Investigation Service). This immensely popular crime show 
tips the balance toward comedy with the relentless adolescent banter 
between members of the team. Finally, Monk and The Closer place a comic 
character at the center of the action. These thoroughly neurotic, but bril- 
liant detectives go through their antics solving a crime that seems almost 
incidental to the show. 

What makes this predictable but adaptable genre so irresistible to 
audiences? I think it's because these shows engage us in the puzzle solving. 
They don't give us any more information than the authorities have. We 
have to work through the case with them. A good script includes several 
false leads and dead ends that throw us off the trail. Some of the informa- 


tion apparently makes no sense. One of the initial suspects shows detest- 
able arrogance during the initial interrogation. He sneers, "You can't prove 
a thing." Like the detectives, we know he's lying. His oily, obnoxious 
lawyer abruptly ends the interview. We're frustrated and angry at the 
loopholes in the law that may let him walk. Yet after the last commercial 
break, the plot takes a sudden twist. His alibi holds up, he's exonerated 
and a mousy secondary figure emerges as the real murderer. At the "a-ha" 
moment, all the loose ends of the story fit together, and we see justice 
served. We turn off the TV and take to our beds confident that the world is 
a rational place where the good receive rewards and the evil an orange 

Reruns are another matter. The challenge of solving a crime does 
not explain their popularity, since we already know how it turns out. Ten 
minutes into the program, when we realize it's an episode we've seen 
before, more often than not, we stick with it. Why? Often enough I find 
knowing the ending provides different kinds of pleasure. I notice clever 
setups for the ending that I missed the first time around. I can pay atten- 
tion to the interaction of the characters, the settings, and the occasional 
clever bit of dialogue. I understand motivations more clearly. It's a differ- 
ent experience, but for connoisseurs of pop culture, reruns bring enjoy- 
ment of their own. I wouldn't push it to a third time, however. We're not 
dealing with multiple readings of "The Wreck of the Deutschland." But 
still I would maintain that knowing the narrative ending shifts our rela- 
tionship to the text and adds to our appreciation of the elements that led 
up to it. We look at the material in an altogether different way. 

If any of this matches your own experience, or even if you can see 
the reasonableness of mine, then you're ready to move on to Bill Reiser's 
fascinating treatment of the Fourth Week. Every time we work our way 
through the Exercises, we are covering familiar territory. The retreat is 
built on a rigid formula that admits of infinite variations, just like a televi- 
sion series. Even before our first encounter with the sequence of the 
Weeks, once we start on the events of the Gospels, we know how the story 
ends. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that we might have been 
encouraged to pretend that we didn't know the ending on the theory that 
the meditations on the Resurrection would be more powerful if they came 
almost as a delightful surprise after the exhaustion of the Passion. 

Bill makes the point that Ignatius, as well of the evangelists, are 
leading their readers through a story that was shaped by Easter faith from 
the beginning. They knew how the story ended. The sacred authors and 
the Church as a whole believed in the risen Christ long before they put ink 
to parchment. This belief guided the compilation of stories that they 
assembled. In other words, not only the account of the Passion, but even 
the infancy narratives and events of the public life were fashioned in the 

light of the Resurrection. With this context in mind, we can approach the 
preceding pericopes and contemplations with a fresh perspective. 

During our discussion of this essay, the Seminar wondered if per- 
haps it would make more sense to begin a retreat with the Fourth Week. 
We never resolved the issue, but perhaps after reading Bill's reflections you 
might reach your own conclusions. 

A few second words . . . 

This issue marks the annual transition of the membership of the Seminar 
on Jesuit Spirituality. On behalf of all our readers, let me offer a word of 
thanks to Kevin Burke and Dennis Smolarski. Not only have both com- 
pleted their three-year terms with the Seminar but both are undergoing 
other changes as well. Kevin is leaving Weston to become dean at Jesuit 
School of Theology at Berkeley, and Dennis is moving his array of com- 
puters from Nobili House at Santa Clara to the new residence across from 
the Mission Church. 

Dennis McNamara is leaving us after one year, alas. Shortly after 
coming on board, Dennis assumed new responsibilities for Georgetown 
University that took him to Beijing for most of the year. Participating in 
the discussions would have involved an extraordinary commute. 

Four new members have generously accepted our invitation to join 
us for the next three years. 

Jim Bretzke (Wisconsin Province) is chair of the Theology Depart- 
ment at the University of San Francisco. A moral theologian, he had previ- 
ously taught at the Gregorian University in Rome, and in Korea and Ma- 
nila. His most recent book is A Morally Complex World: Engaging Contempo- 
rary Moral Theology (Liturgical Press, 2004) 

Pat Howell (Oregon Province) is finishing up a term as dean of the 
School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University, where he taught 
sacramental and pastoral theology. His last book was Reducing the Storm to 
a Whisper: The Story of a Breakdown (Ulysses Press, 2000). 

Mark Massa (New York Province) teaches theology and directs the 
Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham University. His 
recent books include Catholics and American Culture: Fulton Sheen, Dorothy 
Day and the Notre Dame Football Team (Crossroad, 1999) and. Anti-Catholi- 
cism in America, the Last Acceptable Prejudice? (Crossroad, 2003) 

Tom Massaro (New England Province) teaches moral theology at 
Weston Jesuit School of Theology. His most recent publications are Catho- 
lic Perspectives on Peace and War (Sheed & Ward, 2003) and American Catho- 
lic Social Teaching (Liturgical Press, 2002). 

Again thanks to our recent alumni and welcome to our freshmen. 



I. Introduction 1 

Framing the Question 4 

II. The Fourth Week 7 

The Easter Mysteries in the Exercises 7 

Fourteen Easter Scenes 9 

What Are We Supposed to Be Asking For? 12 

III. Scripture and the Church 17 

The Gospels as the Exercises' Wider Horizon 17 

The Fourth Week and the Grace of Belonging to the Church 21 

IV. Worldly Consequences 29 

A Political and Social Grace? 29 

Consolation in the Fourth Week 34 

V. Conclusion 36 

So, What about the Stone? 36 

Can There Be Fourth Week Desolation? 37 



Fra Angelico (Beato Angelico) Christ Resurrected: The Three Marys at the Tomb 

1438. Mural, 181 x 151 cm. 

Photo credit Erich Lessing, Art Resources, New York 

William F. Reiser, S.J., has been teaching theology in 
the Religious Studies Department of the College of the 
Holy Cross since 1978. Fr. Reiser is a prolific author, 
his most recent book being Seeking God in All Things: 
Theology and Spiritual Direction, published by Liturgical 
Press. He has also been active in Hispanic ministries in 
the Worcester area. 


Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week 

A Theological Inquiry 

The meditations on the Resurrection events, as well as 
the corresponding -passages from the Gospels, invite 
theological as well as historical interpretations that reflect 
back and enrich our understanding of the Public Life and 
Passion. Its recollection of the Easter experience shaped 
the identity of the early Church and informs its 
ministry to the poor even today. 

I. Introduction 

I had just concluded the last class of the semester — an introduc- 
tory course on the person and mission of Jesus in Mark's Gos- 
pel — with a lecture on Fra Angelico's fresco "The Three Marys/' 
Carefully, I had pointed out that, according to the evangelist, only 
two Marys arrived at the empty tomb. Those two, in addition to 
Salome, made up the three women. For the artist, however, bringing 
the mother of Jesus to the tomb hardly needed any explanation. The 
mother of Jesus had as much right to be at the tomb on the first day 
of that week as, according to Ignatius, she had to be graced with the 
first of the resurrection appearances — "aunque no se diga en la 
Escritura" ("even though Scripture doesn't say so" [SpEx 299]). 1 I also 
noted that Fra Angelico had turned the evangelist's white-robed 

Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, ed. and comm. 
George E. Ganss, S.J. (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1992), §299, or any 
other translation of this work. Hereafter this source will be abbreviated to SpEx, 
followed by the boldface marginal number. 


2 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

young man into an angel and piously inserted Saint Dominic into 
the lower-left-hand corner. Finally, I explained that the messenger in 
the gospel text was more likely to be imagined as speaking to the 
reader or listener than to the women. After all, the women ran 
away, terrified, and said nothing to anyone (Mark 16:8). The viewer 
is left at the empty tomb, alone, with the mysterious messenger. 

When I came across the fresco at the convent of San Marco in 
Florence several years before, I stared at the painting for the longest 
time, partly musing about what it must have been like to wake each 
morning and see that scene gracing the wall (it's painted in one of 
the monastic cells), and partly marveling at the happy liberty of Fra 
Angelico's imagination. He had, after all, modified the gospel text in 
at least three ways, right there in a monastery named after Saint Mark! 

The morning lecture had gone well. The evangelist, I assured 
myself, would have been pleased with my exposition of the Gospel's 
last eight verses. That night, after rehearsing the day's moments, I 

was falling asleep with the San 

^ _ _ _ mmm _^^_^^^_ Marco fresco still in my mind's eye 

when, all of a sudden, a little de- 
The emptiness of the tomb, I tail jumped out of place> - The 

reasoned, belongs to history; stone , y^ really rolled it away _ 

but the moving of the stone and why was it nece ssary to move it?" 

belongs to theology. The empty tomb, though not con- 

_^__ _^ m ^__^ i elusive proof of Jesus' resurrection, 

is something I take to be part of a 

tradition whose historical truth we can trust. The tomb was evidence 

of a sort. It would have been pretty challenging to preach that Jesus 

had been raised bodily from the dead if someone could simply point 

to the place where they laid him and noted the presence of his 


But what about the "very large" stone? Jesus certainly didn't 
have to move it in order to exit the tomb, and it doesn't make much 
sense to suggest that God — or an angel — moved it precisely to allow 
the women to enter and make their alarming discovery. Jesus could 
have simply appeared to the disciples; from a narrative standpoint, 
the tomb would not first need to be reported as empty, except by 
hindsight. If God had been really concerned about leaving proof of 
Jesus' being raised from the dead, then instead of having the stone 
moved, why not arrange for several of the disciples to witness so 
extraordinary an event? Thus instead of the testimony of an eyewit- 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week -0- 3 

ness or two, we are left with the puzzle of a stone rolled away and 
an empty burial chamber. Something a little more conclusive, given 
the enormous importance of the Easter event, would have been 
helpful. 2 The emptiness of the tomb, I reasoned, belongs to history; 
but the moving of the stone belongs to theology. I needed to explore 
what that very large stone was saying. The one thing that is certain 
is that there are no appearances in the Gospels to people who had 
not been following Jesus or who were not earnestly looking for him. 3 
For an evangelist who records Jesus saying, 'Truly I tell you, no sign 
will be given to this genera tion" (Mark 8:12), neither the empty tomb 
nor the stone was probably ever intended to be taken as a "sign" for 

As Ignatius introduces the Fourth Week, we notice that the 
apparition to Mary, Jesus' mother, precedes the discovery of the 
empty tomb. For Ignatius, apparently, one does not need to know 
about the empty tomb in order to meet the risen Jesus. Ultimately, 
evidence for the resurrection does not depend upon the empty 
tomb, the stone rolled away, the folded burial cloth, heavenly mes- 
sengers, or miraculous sightings. In the end, the most telling evi- 
dence turns on the religious experience of men and women already 
disposed to believe that, in Jesus, God had begun something new. 4 


The angel of Matthew 28:2 and the two angels of John 20:12 serve as artistic 
contrivances to help explain what has happened. For Matthew, the presence of the 
angel accounts for how the stone came to be moved. For John, it is Mary Magdalene 
who sees the two angels, which were apparently not there when Simon Peter and 
the beloved disciple had stepped into the tomb. Their question, "Woman, why are 
you weeping?" implies that there was no longer any reason for weeping. In short, 
the human mind — even now — cannot comprehend "resurrection" without divine 


David Stanley notes: "St. Thomas Aquinas expressed his profound insight 
into this mystery by saying, 'After his resurrection the disciples saw the living Christ, 
whom they knew to have died, with the eyes of faith'" (The Call to Discipleship: The 
Spiritual Exercises with the Gospel of St Mark, The Way Supplement nos. 43 and 44 
[January 1982], 178). The way to an encounter with the risen Jesus was first and 
foremost paved by faith. 

In his book Beyond the Passion, Stephen J. Patterson goes a little too far, I 
think, when he writes that "resurrection proves nothing," because this 
underestimates the significance of the Easter experience and "the rolling away of the 
stone." But he is on the right track when he underscores the continuity between the 
disciples' pre-paschal faith and what comes later. His intuition is sound when he 
says: "The followers of Jesus did not believe in him because of the resurrection. They 
believed in the resurrection because they first believed in the spiritual life he 

4 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

In the case of Jesuits, for example, the primary "evidence" of the 
raising of Jesus from the dead might well be the story of the found- 
ing of the Society of Jesus itself as a historical demonstration of the 
life-giving power of the Creator and Lord, a historical moment the 
religious measure of which can only be grasped by a person who 
prays. The secondary, though no less major, confirmation of the 
resurrection would be the record of our own experience of being 
converted, called, redeemed, empowered, and missioned precisely as 
a function of our relationship with Jesus. 

Framing the Question 

The more I thought about the stone, the more I realized that if 
the Ignatius who gave us the Exercises was a Fourth Week Christian, 
then all the more so was the evangelist himself. That's putting things 
a bit anachronistically, I know. But what we refer to as "the grace of 
the Fourth Week" was in the Gospel long before Ignatius named it. 
What then, exactly, is this grace — how might we describe it? Does it 
consist of one experience or several? Indeed, might there even be 
more to the Fourth Week grace than Ignatius envisioned? 

The purpose of the Second and Third Weeks, with their 
sustained contemplations on the ministry of Jesus and his suffering 
and death, seems fairly straightforward. One is directed to ask for 
"an experiential knowledge of the Lord" ("conocimiento interno del 

Senor" [SpEx 104]) in order to love 
— — — ■— ■ — ^- — and follow him all the more. The 
In other words, the grace of First Week cannot be summed up 

the Fourth Week does not <l uite so neatl Y- For those in P os " 

avvear to reach its climax in session of onl y the most elemen " 
the Contemplatio. We need to tar y iorm ^ of s P in ) ual l literac ^ the 
think further. First Week provides the opportu- 

nity for basic catechesis, as annota- 
— — — — ^-^— * — — tion 18 makes clear. For those with 

a more developed interior life, 
however, the grace of knowing and experiencing oneself as a loved 
sinner might not arrive in the space of eight days, or even thirty 
days; while experiences of the Spirit can be mapped, they cannot be 

unleashed among them" (Beyond the Passion: Rethinking the Death and Life of Jesus 
[Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004], 121). 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 5 

timed. Indeed, no one appropriates the full range of the Christian 
religious experience even after thirty days; the dynamics of disciple- 
ship cannot be telescoped. 5 But at least we know what the grace of 
the First Week ideally is. In his important commentary on the 
Exercises, the British Jesuit Michael Ivens puts it this way: "The cause 
of 'shame and confusion' is not sin-awareness in itself, but the 
experience of a God who is merciful and faithful (see SpEx 74). One 
asks that through prayer this experience be deepened and intensi- 
fied so as to change the heart profoundly/' 6 

I recall our master of novices telling us as we started the long 
retreat that, since we had already made a decision to enter the 
Society, the retreat would not be a retreat of election but of deepen- 
ing our commitment to following Christ, in keeping with SpEx 189, 
about correcting and reforming one's life. Thus the material in the 
Exercises about election and decision making was not immediately 
relevant to us. Of course, no one went on to draw the conclusion 
that perhaps the first disciples had found themselves in an analo- 
gous situation. If they were already married and raising families, 
then perhaps their calling did not alter their lives so dramatically as 
we have imagined. In fact, we know that their wives subsequently 
accompanied them on apostolic mission — and very likely shared in 
it — as Paul informs us in 1 Corinthians 9:5. 7 Along this line the 
Uruguayan Jesuit theologian Juan Luis Segundo made an interesting 

Nothing in the Exercises points to following Jesus precisely or neces- 
sarily in the religious order that Ignatius will found. If the Exercises 

Ignatius appears to take this into account when he notes that the Second 
Week can be lengthened or shortened, depending upon the needs of the retreatant, 
and that the contemplations of this Week serve only to introduce him or her to the 
life of Jesus; better and fuller contemplation would follow afterwards, over the course 
of one's life: 'Torque esto es dar una introduccion y modo para despues mejor y mas 
complidamente contemplar" (SpEx 162). One look at the mysteries of Christ's life that 
are included later (SpEx 261-312) confirms that the Exercises were not intended to be 
an exhaustive insertion into the gospel narratives. If that were the case, then the 
Second Week would have to be a great deal longer. 

Michael Ivens, S.J., Understanding the Spiritual Exercises: Text and Commentary; 
A Handbook for Spiritual Directors (Leominster: Gracewing, 1998), 49. 

Paul writes, "Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing 
wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?" Throughout 
this essay I have used the New Revised Standard Version. 

6 -$> William Reiser, S.J. 

could be isolated from other psychological variables — who gives 
them, where they take place, how exercitants are recruited — they 
would produce vocations indiscriminately for any and every religious 
order. In fact, however, Ignatius probably made the Exercises as we 
do today and did not decide to enter any existing religious order. It 
is impossible for us to say exactly why. All we can see is that he was 
looking for something else, in the light of the Exercises and the 
"choice" he made in them, without clearly perceiving what. 8 

Now, if this important dimension of the Exercises — the elec- 
tion — could be bracketed, what about the Contemplation for Attain- 
ing Divine Love at the end (SpEx 230)? Does this contemplation 
really belong to the Fourth Week, or is it an appendage much like 

the three ways of praying (SpEx 
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ 238)? The Contemplatio was pre- 
sented to us as an important ele- 
That his soul "descended" men t of the Fourth Week, but I 

into hell and then returned to was unable to figure out precisely 
the tomb, borders on the why it belonged there. How we 

spatializing of mythical find God in all things is qualita- 

thinking. That he then tively different before and after 

appeared "body and soul" to the paschal experience. This point 
his mother and others is a ought to be stated upfront, for the 

matter of faith. resurrection completely trans- 

figures our understanding of the 
divine mystery. Nevertheless, by 
acknowledging this point we are 
also implying that one does not have to believe in Jesus risen in 
order to find God in all things or to love God above all things. In 
other words, the grace of the Fourth Week does not appear to reach 
its climax in the Contemplatio. We need to think further. 9 


Juan Luis Segundo, The Christ of the Ignatian Exercises (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis 
Books, 1987), 120. 


On the debate about whether the Contemplation to Attain Love belongs 
inside or outside the Fourth Week, see Gilles Cusson, Biblical Theology and the Spiritual 
Exercises (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1988), 312-16. Marian Cowan sees 
in the Contemplatio a recapitulation of the four Weeks. See Marian Cowan and John 
Carroll Futrell, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola: A Handbook for Directors 
(Denver: Ministry Training Services, 1981), 133-35. Michael Buckley views the 
purpose of the Contemplatio as "developmental": "The contemplacion brings the major 
strands of the Exercises into their synthesis in love by recapitulating their graces in 
heightened form" ("The Contemplation to Attain Love," The Way Supplement, no. 24 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 7 

II. The Fourth Week 

The Easter Mysteries in the Exercises 

The grace of the Fourth Week is intrinsically connected to the 
Easter faith that pervades the Gospels; that much is clear. The 
Exercises are not inviting us to share in some grace that goes beyond 
the Gospels or that reaches beyond the distinctively Christian experi- 
ence of God. The grace of the Fourth Week, I would suggest, hinges 
upon how we understand the meaning and purpose of the resurrec- 
tion appearances within the broader gospel narratives. 

To begin, there is a certain discontinuity between the Second 
and Third Weeks and the Fourth Week, one which reflects a percep- 
tible discontinuity within the Gospels themselves. As David Stanley 

Now no one who has thoughtfully contemplated the gospel scenes 
depicting the return of the risen Christ to his own after the first 
Easter morning can have missed a certain indefinable aura of unfa- 
miliarity, even — let us admit it — of unreality surrounding the figure 
of our Lord. As we read the evangelists' accounts of these meetings, 
we inevitably discover to our great discomfiture that everything 
appears much the same, except the risen Christ himself. . . . 

Certain special features of Christ's post-resurrection appearances 
indicate unequivocally that we cannot approach the contemplation of 
these occurrences as we did those of Jesus' earthly life. Nor should 
we look to obtain the same fruit from them as in the earlier weeks of 
the retreat. We see, for example, that the disciples never again return 
to the same delightfully human intimacy with the Lord which they 
had "in the days of his flesh/' 10 

Imagination, we might even say, would not be satisfied if it could 
detect no perceptible difference in Jesus before and after Easter. In 
contemplating the Easter scenes, imagination seems to appreciate 
that it needs theological guidance. 

When Ignatius writes in the first prelude about "the history" 
of the mystery of Jesus' appearance to his mother (SpEx 219), he is 

[Spring 1975], 95, 100). 


David Stanley, A Modern Scriptural Approach to the Spiritual Exercises (St. 
Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1967), 279, 281. The "aura of unfamiliarity" also 
runs through the otherwise warm scenes of John 20 and 21. 

8 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

combining history and faith in the same way the Creed does. That 
Jesus died on a cross is a historical event. That his soul "descended" 
into hell and then returned to the tomb, borders on the spatializing 
of mythical thinking. That he then appeared "body and soul" to his 
mother and others is a matter of faith. 11 The problem is that one 
cannot pray about the resurrection just by imaginatively inserting 
oneself into the various Easter episodes. Why? Because these scenes 
are not like photographs; they are more like paintings. They engage 
us differently for the elementary reason that Jesus was not resusci- 
tated — an event we could get our imaginations around. There are, 
after all, the stories of Lazarus (John 11), the daughter of Jairus 
(Mark 5:22-43), and the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17). 
These scenes our imaginations can reconstruct. Jesus, however, was 
"raised from the dead." Imagination, unaided, would miss a central 
aspect of Christian experience; it would be unable to cross from 
history to faith if it were to fail to attend to the important difference 
between resurrection and resuscitation. 12 

The meditations of the Fourth Week become more complex 
than one might suppose. I think we all realize that a person cannot 

innocently look at the scenes as 

straightforward historical 
But the "ascension" was a confirmations that Jesus was truly 

theological moment in the raised from the dead. For one 

Church's paschal experience, thing, the risen Jesus pervades the 

not a physical event. whole of the Exercises in the same 

It should not be way that he pervades the whole of 

contemplated naively. the Gospels. The evangelists wrote 

from the perspective of Easter 
^^^^^^— ^-^— — faith. Consequently, no matter 

how "historical" particular epi- 
sodes might feel, the fact is that, for anyone praying from the Gos- 
pels, the Jesus to whom one speaks or in whose presence one is 
imaginatively standing is the risen Lord. Jesus touches a leper, for 

11 Gerald O'Collins remarked on these various genres in the Creed in his What 
Are They Saying about Jesus? (New York: Paulist Press, 1977), 8f. 

12 On the Fourth Week meditations see Paul Edwards, "The Resurrection 
Narratives Today," in The Way Supplement no. 58 (Spring 1987), 47-55; and the 
various articles in Resurrection and Beyond: The Fourth Week (The Way Supplement no. 
99 [2000]), especially Philip Sheldrake's "Rooms and Places" (pp. 78-86). 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week ^ 9 

example; but for the one praying it can only be the risen Jesus who 
does so. The gospel scene is more than historical remembrance; it 
has been crafted from faith. So also in the Exercises. The First Week 
colloquy with Jesus on the cross (SpEx 53) is with Christ our Lord — 
the one whom God has raised from the dead, the Jesus who lives in 
the Church — not with the historical or pre-Easter Jesus. Likewise, the 
king who is imagined as calling each and every member of the 
human race at the beginning of the Second Week is clearly Jesus 
risen (SpEx 95). 

Fourteen Easter Scenes 

The mysteries that Ignatius directs us to contemplate in the 
Fourth Week are (1) the appearance to his mother, 13 (2) Jesus' ap- 
pearing to Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:1-11), (3) his appearance to the 
two Marys on their way to announce the startling news of the 
resurrection (Matt 28:8-10), (4) an implied appearance to Peter after 
he had seen the linen cloths in the tomb (Luke 24:9-12, 34), (5) the 
Emmaus appearance (Luke 24:13-35), (6) the first appearance to the 
disciples behind locked doors (John 20:19-23), (7) the second appear- 
ance behind locked doors, when Thomas is present (John 20:24-29), 
(8) an appearance by the shore and the great catch of fish (John 
21:1-17), (9) an appearance on the mount of the ascension with its 
great commissioning (Matt. 28:16-20), (10) Jesus' appearing to more 
than five hundred (1 Cor. 15:6), (11) an appearance to James (1 Cor. 
15:7), (12) an appearing to Joseph of Arimathea, based on pious 
legend, (13) the appearance to Paul (1 Cor. 15:8), and finally (14) the 


Cusson writes as follows: "We should note that Ignatius was not at all the 
first to suggest the possibility of Jesus' having appeared first to Mary. Ludolph the 
Carthusian, who speaks of it in ch. 70 of his Life of Christ, records the more or less 
explicit testimony of Sts. Ambrose, Anselm, and Ignatius of Antioch." Cusson then 
mentions other writers who shared the same opinion. See his Biblical Theology and the 
Spiritual Exercises, 304. Cusson notes that the pious belief that the mother of Jesus 
was the first to "see" the risen Christ does not "furnish a 'proof in favor of this 
opinion which Ignatius accepted." The fact that this appearance is not recorded in 
the New Testament does not mean one cannot devoutly contemplate such a scene. 
One must bear in mind, however, that the Fourth Week is not about Mary or any of 
the other figures who "see" the risen Jesus; it is about what God has done (and 
revealed) in raising him from the dead. Thus, to suggest that "the Resurrection of 
Christ and the apparition to our Lady constitute only one single Resurrection event" 
(306) may be pressing the biblical text too far in the direction of figurative exegesis. 
Also, see Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, "Our Lady in the Spiritual Exercises," in The Road to 
La Storta (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2000), 33-45. 

10 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

ascension appearance (Acts 1:1-12). 14 Each of these fourteen myster- 
ies has its own distinctive theological and spiritual character, includ- 
ing the first and twelfth ones — the two nonbiblical mysteries. In all 
these mysteries we find the themes of apostleship and mission, 
ministry and ecclesial life, reconciliation and Eucharist, real presence 
and real absence, human history and divine providence, paschal 
faith and paschal love. 

To contemplate any of these scenes requires the use of imagi- 
nation in order both to set the stage and recall the history. The 
supposed encounter with Peter, for instance, would lack texture and 
pathos unless we recalled the "history" of Peter from the moment 
when he first met Jesus to his triple denial. Likewise, the piously 
imagined appearance to Joseph of Arimathea necessitates our re- 
membering that it was he who had asked Pilate for the body of 
Jesus, took it down from the cross, wrapped it, laid it in the tomb, 
and "rolled" the stone against it (Mark 16:42-46). 15 

While it is curious that Ignatius includes nothing about the Pentecost scene, 
the Spirit's activity is by no means foreign to his thinking and experience in the 
Exercises. The Holy Spirit is mentioned six times in the mysteries of Jesus' life: 
Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit (SpEx 263), the Spirit came upon Jesus at his 
baptism (273), Jesus breathed the Spirit on his disciples in the sixth appearance (304, 
twice), Spirit is part of the baptismal formula (307), and the apostles are told to await 
the promised Holy Spirit (312). Finally, the Spirit is mentioned in the rules for "right 
feeling" ("sentido verdadero") with respect to the Church (365). Ignatius 
overwhelmingly prefers to identify the divine mystery as "God our Lord," perhaps 
with the implicit understanding that when one of the divine Persons is acting, all are 
acting. Interestingly, in his book Spiritual Exercises (New York: Herder and Herder, 
1965), Karl Rahner adds a chapter on Pentecost and the experience of the Spirit (pp. 
251-61) and, in his Ignatius the Theologian (New York: Herder and Herder, 1968), 
Hugo Rahner discerns a dialectic of Spirit and Church in the Exercises (pp. 214-38). 
See also John R. Sachs, "The Spirit of the Risen Lord," The Way Supplement no. 99 
(2000), 22-34. Nevertheless, for some reason the Spirit appears to be a less operative 
category in Ignatius's way of describing divine action in the Exercises than in the 
Constitutions. All but one of the mentions of Espiritu Santo in the Exercises occur in 
the mysteries of the life of Christ and are connected to scriptural texts; but there are 
eight mentions in the Constitutions — none of which is directly connected to a biblical 
text. Given Ignatius's singular devotion to the Trinity (see "The Trinity in the Ignatian 
Charism: A Tribute to Father Arrupe," CIS 13, no. 1 [1982]), it doesn't seem that the 
absence of frequent references or appeals to the Holy Spirit in the Exercises stemmed 
from any nervousness on Ignatius's part about being associated with the alumbrados. 

It is Interesting that, just as Fra Angelico took artistic liberties with the 
scene of the empty tomb, so too did Michelangelo with the Pieta to be found in the 
Museo dell'Opera del Duomo in Florence. The face of Nicodemus (it should be 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 11 

But imagination also needs to be careful not to blur the differ- 
ence between historical reconstruction and faith. We approach the 
story of Jesus' meeting Mary Magdalene, for instance, not as a 
snapshot in the ancient Christian family album, further confirmation 
of Jesus' being alive, but as a work of art. We do not leave the scene 
wishing we could have been standing with Mary outside the tomb. 
In light of the Johannine beatitude "Blessed are those who have not 
seen" (John 20:29), I don't think 
we should be leaving any of the 

Easter scenes praying, "If only I The joy Jesus feels is 

could have been there!" These inseparable from his taking 

scenes represent faith speaking to U p a new Hf e among his 

faith, the faith of the evangelist sisters and brothers, and 

and of the early Church speaking becoming an integral part of 
to our faith, in order to stir our fheif i ives __ neaUng/ teaching, 
imaginations and shape our way forgiving, encouraging, 

of looking at the world, to inten- cM . ^ md bUssi 
sify our desire to be where Jesus is 

and train our hearts to notice his — -——^— —-——--— —-—— 
presence in the various Galilees 

where we live. I appreciate the devotion that led Ignatius to return 
to the mount of the ascension, for he believed that Jesus had literally 
lifted off from the earth at that spot and his love for Jesus drew him 
to want to touch every place in the Holy Land where Jesus had 
been. But the "ascension" was a theological moment in the Church's 
paschal experience, not a physical event. It should not be contem- 
plated naively. 

Each of the narrative details that make up the appearance 
stories prompts us to imagine, to think, and to pray. But what 
distinguishes them from, say, the story of the leper or the healing of 
the epileptic boy other than the somewhat artificial timeline that 
separates what happened before Jesus' death and burial from what 
happened afterwards? The earlier part of the gospel narratives 
contain as much theological embellishing as the resurrection appear- 
ances. The Jesus who calms the wind and the waves or who walks 

Joseph of Arimathea) who is placing the body of Jesus into his mother's arms, 
appears to be that of the sculptor himself. In SpEx 297 Ignatius mentions both Joseph 
and Nicodemus at the cross, but in SpEx 310 he mentions only Joseph. All four 
Gospels state that Joseph removed the body. Nicodemus, mentioned only in John, 
assisted Joseph with the anointing and burial. 

12 ^ William Reiser, SJ. 

across the water doesn't feel all that different from the Jesus who 
joins his frightened disciples behind locked doors. 16 The discovery of 
the risen Jesus among those who are marginalized by poverty or 
sickness is made possible because the imagination has been schooled 
in stories about a leper, a paralytic, or a woman with a hemorrhage. 
The discovery of Jesus among prisoners or refugees is made possible 
because we have been schooled by the voice of the king in the last 
judgment scene of Matthew 25 — a passage that appears before Jesus' 

The point, therefore, is not that some stories are more histori- 
cal while others are more theological; it is not even that some are 
preburial and others are postburial. What changes as one moves 
through the weeks of the Exercises is neither history nor theology, 
but specific, distinctively Christian religious experiences. It is one's 
experience of Jesus that keeps changing and developing in the 
course of making the Exercises — whether we are talking about the 
long retreat itself or the gradual, steady immersion of the believer 
into the mystery of Christ that continues over a lifetime. The Exer- 
cises in daily life, after all, never really come to a close. And so I 
come back to the question: What is the grace of the Fourth Week? 
What does Ignatius expect to happen there, and can that happen 
unless the Jesus of the Easter apparitions draws us to remember the 
rest of his history? 

What Are We Supposed to Be Asking For? 

Ignatius directs us in SpEx 221 "to ask for what I want; and 
here it will be to beg the grace to feel intense happiness and joy 
over so much glory and joy on the part of Christ our Savior // ("y 
sera aqui pedir gracia para me alegrar y gozar intensamente de tanta 
gloria y gozo de Cristo nuestro Serior"). But why, exactly, is Christ so 


Ignatius situates the two water stories (SpEx 279 and 280) between the 
Sermon on the Mount and the sending of the disciples out to preach. Today, should 
we propose the water stories for prayer as part of the Fourth Week, or should we 
leave them in their place and let them stand as moments within the public life of 
Jesus, counting on the likelihood that a person's prayer life will eventually catch up 
with exegesis? I would be inclined to view them as Fourth Week contemplations and 
would try to organize the meditations of the Second and Third Weeks around the 
events that in one way or another lead up to and account for Jesus' rejection, arrest, 
and execution. 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 13 

full of joy? Is he happy because, after enduring such a harrowing 
experience, he has made it to the other side and is now enjoying a 
richly deserved reward? Such a reason would not help us all that 
much, however. I could imagine someone praying, Tm happy for 
you; but look at us — we still have a long way to go!" Besides, does 
the ultimate reason for leading a God-centered life simply boil down 
to the hope of being rewarded? The well-known prayer in the 
Contemplation for Attaining Divine Love concludes, "just give me 
your love and your grace, that's all that I need" ("dadme vuestro 
amor y gracia, que esta me basta"). 

Placed alongside the Second Week prayer in SpEx 98 we get a 
clear sense of what this love and grace mean: "I want, I desire, it is 
my firmest resolution — provided only that it is for your greater 
service and praise — to imitate you 

in undergoing all insults and ev- -———■—— — 
ery disgrace and total poverty Jesus' jov is so connected 

both inner and outer-should with the peace, happiness, 

your most holy majesty want to ■, . £ 7 . 

J . , . and communion of his 

choose me and receive me into ,. . , , xl /.. . 

, ,., , -„ ,„ . disciples, however, that it is 

such a life and state ( yo quiero y , , / . . , . . f . 

j j j. • ■ ' j i- hard to imagine his wy being 

deseo y es mi determinacion deli- d , .* / . 

u - ■ j * i j. complete if they are in 

berada, solo que sea vuestro ,. ^ J *, ., , 

m^T™ o««,i^;^ ,r ,i,i„„,„ a~ \™\ distress, or worse, divided. 

mayor servicio y alabanza, de rmi- ' ' 

taros en pasar todas injurias y _ „^ _« . 

todo vituperio y toda pobreza, asi 

actual como espiritual, queriendome vuestra santisima majestad 

elegir y recibir en tal vida y estado"). The only reward worthy of a 

companion of Jesus would be to find oneself placed alongside him as 

he preaches and labors for the kingdom of God. And so, what is the 

joy of the risen Jesus all about? 

To answer this question we would do well to retrace our way 
through the Gospels. Joy seems to be correlative to desire. To under- 
stand the reason for Christ's joy we are led to think about what he 
himself was looking for, what he desired, what his heart was cen- 
tered on. To reply that Jesus wanted God above everything else 
would be correct, but it also might be saying too little. For God does 
not preside over human history from outside; he resides within it. 
That is why it is impossible to love God without loving our neighbor 
and why loving our neighbor (however unconscious we may be of 
it) is implicitly a prayer of adoration. So what does Jesus want, if not 

14 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

the salvation — the freedom and wholeness — of his people? What 
does Jesus want, if not the new community and new humanity that 
are integral to the coming of the kingdom of God? It would seem to 
me, therefore, that to understand the paschal joy experienced by the 
risen Jesus we have to think of how, by virtue of the resurrection, he 
became more deeply one with his people. As the Irish Jesuit Brian 
O'Leary writes, 

We have to ask: Who is this Christ whose broken spirit and subse- 
quent joy we desire to share? Is it the Jesus of history, the carpenter's 
son from Nazareth, who died by crucifixion inflicted by Roman 
soldiers and whom God then raised and exalted? The answer is yes, 
and much more. 

This Jesus Christ, we believe, is not separate from his people. He 
is the head of a body, to use Paul's words, and believers are mem- 
bers of that body. When the head suffers or rejoices, the body suffers 
or rejoices. When the body, or any part of it, suffers or rejoices, the 
head suffers or rejoices. 

There is no way we can separate Jesus from his people so as to 
be in union with him but not with them, or in union with them but 
not with him. 17 

Of all the things we can desire, certainly communion has to be 
at the top of the list: communion with one another as an indispens- 
able sign of our union with God, and perhaps as the closest approxi- 
mation we can imagine this side of death to what being forever with 
God will one day mean. The joy Jesus feels is inseparable from his 
taking up a new life among his sisters and brothers, and becoming 
an integral part of their lives — healing, teaching, forgiving, encourag- 
ing, calling, leading, and blessing. I take this to be the point of 
Mark's insistence that the risen Jesus goes ahead of his disciples into 
Galilee. Jesus does not leave the world; he remains. The scenes 
which form the basis of the Easter contemplations listed above 
would have no staying power unless the same Jesus who is imaged 
there were working, very much alive, in the experience of believers 
today. The scenes are not simple remembrances of what once was 
but paintings — works of art — that invite the believer to participate in 
the mystery underneath. 

1 7 

Brian O'Leary, "From Isolation to Consolation: The Mystery and Message of 
the Third and Fourth Weeks/' CIS 27, no. 2 (1996): 39. I have developed the 
connection between Jesus and his people at greater length in my Jesus in Solidarity 
with His People: A Theologian Looks at Mark (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2000). 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 15 

Jesus' life-giving oneness with his followers as a consequence 
of God's raising him from the dead satisfied his heart's desire: that's 
my suggestion. Rather than removing him from this world, death 
brought Jesus closer to us. With the resurrection Jesus' prophetic 
engagement with the world intensified; he could no more forget his 
people than God could, for they were inscribed indelibly on the 
palms of his hands (Isa. 49:16). I do not wish to exclude other possi- 
ble reasons for Jesus' joy, however. There could certainly have been 
a thrill of vindication, not because of a personal victory over the 
forces of death and sin on his part, like a runner winning a mara- 
thon, but because he had experienced the triumph of divine justice. 
In this respect, the risen Jesus tasted the glory of God. The joy and 
delight did not come from what he, Jesus, had done but from what 
God had done in and through him. The words of the Magnificat 
would sound equally appropriate coming from the lips of Jesus: 
'The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his 
name" (Luke 1:49). Perhaps the humble sentiment of Mary's words 
picks up more effectively what Easter might have meant for Jesus 
than the sureness in the pronouncement "I have conquered the 
worldr (John 16:33). 

And while there no doubt would have been great joy as a 
result of Jesus' being everlastingly joined to the Father, we do the 
Gospel no disservice by suggesting that even for the risen Jesus 
oneness with the Father would have been incomplete to the degree 
that his disciples — indeed, the hu- 
man race — were still so far from - - ^^ — — — — — — — 

home. Three times in the Last The possibility that God 

Supper discourse Jesus mentions might be caUing the 

joy being complete-not his but retreatant to actual poverty 

that of the disciples: "I have said ml make$ sm$e {n Uhf * 

these things to you so that my joy ffc n ofJe$us ^ „ 

may be in you, and that your joy 
may be complete" (John 15:11); . ..." -' v / " - 
"ask and you will receive, so that 

your joy may be complete" (John 16:24); "but now I am coming to 
you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have 
my joy made complete in themselves" (John 17:13). Jesus' joy is so 
connected with the peace, happiness, and communion of his disci- 
ples, however, that it is hard to imagine his joy being complete if 
they are in distress, or worse, divided. Hence Ignatius's fifth point 

16 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

about Christ as "the bearer of consolation" ("mirar el oficio de conso- 
lar que Cristo nuestro Senor trae" (SpEx 224). 18 

Commenting on the grace of the Fourth Week, Michael Ivens 
writes as follows: "Paschal joy, however, can be experienced at 
different levels; and the joy petitioned in the Fourth Week of the 
Exercises consists in the transforming experience of a joy which is a 
union in that of the risen Christ himself, just as suffering in the 
Third Week was such a sharing in the suffering of Christ." 19 He 
continues: "Fourth Week joy will constitute an elan towards apos- 
tolic mission, a source of strength, energy and courage to participate 
in the work of the Kingdom" (162f.). Then he explains in a footnote: 
"Sharing in the joy of Christ means sharing altruistically in Christ's 
joy for himself (i.e., in his return to the Father and his elevation to 
glory), but we must remember that Christ's joy is not only for him- 
self but for us — joy in all he has achieved for us" (162). By "different 
levels" I take Ivens to mean that paschal joy, as a dimension of the 
Christian religious experience, can also assert itself during the medi- 
tations of the First, Second, and Third Weeks. There is an experience 
of the risen Jesus particular or appropriate to each of the Weeks, a 
consolation that at its root is paschal. The "elan towards apostolic 
mission" of the Fourth Week would, therefore, be linked to the 
joyful impulse that prompts someone to heed the call of the earthly 
king in the Second Week. 

Yet while I readily understand the idea of "sharing altruisti- 
cally in Christ's joy for himself," I would urge that the joy Christ has 
for us derives, not from what he knows he has accomplished on our 
behalf, not from a sense of satisfaction, but from his sharing, from 


In his article "The Graces of the Third and Fourth Weeks," Dominic Maruca 
points to the Emmaus story as an instance of the risen Jesus consoling his disciples. 
See David L. Fleming, ed., Notes on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola (St. 
Louis: Review for Religious, 1981), 141. But was Ignatius connecting the risen Jesus 
with the "Paraclete" — the one who encourages, cheers up and comforts — of John 
14:26? Since Ignatius was not so attentive to scriptural texts as we are today, he 
understandably could have amalgamated the role of the Spirit and the activity of the 
risen Jesus. As Michael Palmer argues, "There are personages in Church history for 
whom a central part of their religious mentality was a love for the Bible as the Word 
of God. Do we find such a love of the Bible, of the written word of God, to be a 
significant factor in St. Ignatius's spiritual profile? I do not think so" ("The Spiritual 
Exercises and the Bible," CIS 26, no. 2 [1995], 29). 


Ivens, Understanding the Spiritual Exercises, 162. 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week & 17 

now until the end of time, in our history and our experience. His is 
the joy of the Incarnation, the enduring presence of the divine Word 
made flesh among God's daughters and sons. It is a joy that reso- 
nates richly with the theological aesthetic of Proverbs 8: "And I was 
daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhab- 
ited world, and delighting in the human race/' 

III. Scripture and the Church 

The Gospels as the Exercises* Wider Horizon 

Permit me for a moment, drawing on computer language, to 
open up a "window" onto the general relationship between the 
Exercises and the Gospel. The Exercises represent Ignatius's discovery 
of the Jesus of the Gospels and the way of discipleship. If this were 
not so, then the meditations of the Exercises would make no sense 
because they are based almost exclusively on gospel texts, even 
when Scripture is not explicitly mentioned. Nearly all the mysteries 
of the life of Christ are drawn from the Gospels. Indeed, apart from 
the mention of the first parents in the meditations on sin during the 
First Week (SpEx 51) and Ignatius's frequent use of the word "Cre- 
ator," there is virtually no direct appeal to the narrative lines of the 
Old Testament. 20 


In SpEx 365 Ignatius refers to the Ten Commandments (also in SpEx 42, 
during the examination of conscience, and SpEx 238-48, regarding the First Way of 
Praying), while in SpEx 275, in the third of his points on the calling of the disciples, 
he notes how the disciples — de ruda y baja condition ("unschooled and from a low 
social class") — were lifted up beyond all the fathers of the New and Old Testament. 
Such mentions are incidental. What is more important, the creation story seems to 
furnish the meta-narrative for Ignatius. The third of his points in the Contemplation 
for Attaining Love (SpEx 236) invites us to think about how God "works and labors" 
("trabaja y labora") in every single created thing on the face of the earth, "behaving 
just like someone at work" ("habet se ad modum laborantis") — the text suddenly 
shifts from Spanish to Latin. Nevertheless, I do not think Ignatius views the mystery 
of Creation — the mystery of God as Creator — the same way before and after the 
resurrection. The indwelling of God, for example, in SpEx 235 is being offered for our 
consideration in the Fourth Week; there is a note of warm intimacy here. Contrast 
this Fourth Week contemplation with "the human being is created to praise, 
reverence, and serve God our Lord." Michael Palmer, in the article cited, points out 
that Ignatius "blends into the biblical data other traditional elements" (30) and that 
he was in possession of a "global Christian vision of reality" incorporating many non- 
biblical elements (37). I would urge, instead, that whatever "global vision" Ignatius 

18 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

To be sure, some of Ignatius's discoveries about the dynamics 
of the interior life have universal relevance because they derive from 
humanity's common moral and religious experience. On the basis of 
such common experience, one could put together a sort of world 
grammar of the interior life. 21 Christians cannot copyright the dy- 
namics of discernment. Life offers the human spirit countless practi- 
cal lessons, and a good number of these have entered into the 

world's repository of popular wis- 
a _^_ m _ m __ m _ m ^_ mmmm _^ dom. The book of Proverbs would 

be one example of such wisdom. 
The risen Jesus dwells in the So too the hard-learned truth one 
Church, but the Spirit of the finds in the very first Psalm: " Hap _ 
risen Jesus makes Church py are those who do not follow 

possible in the first place. the advice of the wicked, or take 

Thus to encounter the Jesus of the path that sinners tread." 
the Gospels is to meet a Jesus ignatius's particular take on 

who is inseparable from the discernment, however, is so inter- 

communtty of disciples. twined with the Gospels and with 

__ ««^ _ . what happens when one decides 

to follow Jesus that the measure or 
standard by which we distinguish between the way of life and the 
way of death becomes nothing less than the teaching and example 
of Jesus. Or, to take another example, the meditation on the three 
degrees of freedom — the three classes of men — though making no 
mention of any scriptural text, unfolds against a gospel back- 
ground. 22 The possibility that God might be calling the retreatant to 

shared was profoundly conditioned, whether directly or indirectly, by the biblical 
narratives and the spiritual traditions that attempted to exegete those narratives. 
Readers of Studies might want to revisit Richard Clifford's essay, which appeared in 
January 1999 (vol. 31, no. 1), "Scripture and the Exercises: Moving from the Gospels 
and Psalms to Exodus and Proverbs." 


Such a grammar would include, for instance, the rule that one cannot 
cultivate the life of the spirit without asceticism, the indispensable role of meditation 
and the examination of consciousness, a lexicon of virtues, the unity of life, ecological 
mindfulness, and so on. Neither Ignatius nor Christian faith has a corner on 
humanity's interior life. I have attempted to sort out what is distinctive about the 
Christian religious experience in my Seeking God in All Things: Theology and Spiritual 
Direction (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2004), 69-116. 

SpEx 149-55. The footnote in the Spanish edition I have been using here 
explains Ignatius's "tres binarios de hombres" as "[tjipos de hombres en diversos 
niveles de libertad" (Ejercicios Espirituales, with Introduction and notes by Ignacio 

Locating the Grace of the fourth Week *& 19 

actual poverty (SpEx 157) only makes sense in light of the poverty of 
Jesus himself. The second point that Ignatius singles out from the 
forty-eight verses of the sermon on the mount (SpEx 278) is about 
making good use of one's talents, the first point being to live the 
Beatitudes themselves — which is exactly what the deepest degree of 
freedom consists of. 

The conversion experience embedded within the Exercises is 
founded upon the conversion presupposed by the Gospels. The 
Exercises represent Ignatius's inspired grasp of the revelation of God 
in Christ as set forth by the evangelists; they are his way of mapping 
the development and deepening of Christian religious experience. As 
catechesis, the four Weeks guide a person through the gospel narra- 
tive of Jesus' life, moving from his conception and birth to his death, 
burial, and resurrection. The fact that the Gospel opens with a call to 
repentance and conversion in John's preaching as well as Jesus' is no 
spiritual accident. One cannot participate in the kingdom of God or 
join Jesus on mission until one has faced the reality of sin in his or 
her own life. Without a penetrating awareness of human sinful- 
ness — the personal record of one's own waywardness as well as the 
tragic alienation of humanity from its Creator — one is not in a 
position to appreciate why Jesus was ever sent. 

Of course, Jesus' message, so abbreviated in the phrase "re- 
pent, and believe in the good news/ 7 presupposes the entire Old 
Testament narrative about Israel's centuries of wandering and a 
people's desire to come home. 23 The First Week distills Ignatius's own 
experience of homecoming, his own awakening to the words of 
Jesus addressed directly to him: "The time is fulfilled, and the king- 

Iglesias [Madrid: San Pablo, 1996], 101). 


The idea of an unspoken meta-narrative figures prominently in the writing 
of N. T. Wright. See, for instance, his Paul in Fresh Perspective (Minneapolis: Fortress 
Press, 2005), 7-13. But it also figures in Jesuit discourse as well. In the back of our 
minds, the stories of Ignatius's life and conversion, the assembling of the First 
Companions, and the founding of the Society, are constantly playing. Grafted on to 
this narrative might be the history of the Paraguayan Reductions, the early mission 
to China, and more recently, the assassination of the Jesuit educators in El 
Salvador — not to mention the regional stories of provinces and assistancies. This 
meta-narrative does not have to be explicitly mentioned or invoked, yet it is ever 
operating at the level of where self and corporate identity have been constituted. We 
draw on it constantly. In the same way, Paul and Jesus drew on the story of Israel, 
and Paul was drawing on the story of Jesus. 

20 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

dom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news" 
(Mark 1:15). The grace of the First Week might be aptly summed up 
in Peter's words "Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man" 
and Jesus' reply "Do not be afraid" (Luke 5:8, 10). Without this 
heartfelt realization of sinfulness, and without the acceptance and 
assurance of Jesus' words, Peter would not have been spiritually 
equipped to follow him. Though the evangelist does not explicitly 
say so, this is a class-action story: what Peter goes through by way 
of conversion, every disciple must go through. In other words, the 
First Week experience was in the Gospels long before it appeared in 
the text of the Exercises. And lest we think that conversion and 
calling are solely First and Second Week experiences, the Easter 
narratives make it clear that a second repentance and second calling 
can be part of the paschal experience itself. 

To make the Exercises is essentially to "make" the Gospel. The 
first time one "makes" the Gospel, the believer most likely follows 
Jesus chronologically from his birth to his ascension. But chronologi- 
cal meditation — viewing Jesus' life in linear fashion — gradually yields 

to an integrating of the mysteries 
of Jesus' life into the fabric of one's 
In other words, any "seeing" thinking, imagining, choosing, and 
of the risen Jesus could not be acting. We pray the texts selec- 
divorced from the faith that tively, moving back and forth 

made such seeing possible in within the Gospels, always from 
the first place. the platform of our deepening 

appropriation of the paschal mys- 
tery. The grace of the Fourth 
Week is not what comes at the 
end of prayerfully following Jesus through the story, as if we "grad- 
uate" through the four Weeks by achieving successively higher 
viewpoints. The grace, rather, is one of sharing the interior life of the 
Son of God — a sharing which is God's gift. It does not come auto- 
matically; one must ask for it. 

Now we can close the "window." 

Praying in the Fourth Week, as I have noted, entails more 
than reconstructing the resurrection scenes in our imaginations. 
What complicates matters further is that many of the scenes within 
the Gospels that take place before Easter are already laced with Eas- 
ter faith; all have been composed by writers whose only experience 
of Jesus was an experience of Jesus risen. Differentiating the grace of 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <fr 21 

the Fourth Week from what precedes it in the Exercises, therefore, 
does not mean bracketing the Easter stories from the rest of the 
gospel narrative, even though the Easter narratives introduce new 
material for contemplation. Joy is certainly central to this new mate- 
rial. Another prominent feature of the Easter contemplations is that 
the raising of Jesus from the dead is not just a divine word about 
victory over sin and death. It is also about return — a return that 
brings this victory further into history in order to bring about the 
creation of a new humanity and the formation of a new people of 
God. The Fourth Week, in other words, is also about living in and 
for the Church. 

The Fourth Week and the Grace of Belonging to the 

I do not mean to imply that "Church" has not been present in 
the Gospels prior to the resurrection. The Jesus whom the evange- 
lists know is not only the risen Jesus; he is also the ecclesial Christ. 
The risen Jesus dwells in the Church, but the Spirit of the risen Jesus 
makes Church possible in the first place. Thus to encounter the Jesus 
of the Gospels is to meet a Jesus who is inseparable from the com- 
munity of disciples. This may not be immediately evident as one 
moves through the Exercises, be- 
cause in the meditations we are 

constantly relating to the figure of The paschal mystery cements 
Jesus in prayer, conversing, as one together creating and raising 
person to another. And the Jesus fa decu i as too sia * es f a 

of our imagination has determi- sing i e spiritual coin, two 

nate historical, human features. He sides f a singh 

is Jewish, he is male, he grew up religious experience. 

in a small village in the Galilean 

countryside, he was a carpenter. — -^ — — — 
Socially and politically Jesus' reli- 
gious and moral sensitivities were affected by the political and social 
structure of the Roman imperial world. His imagination was shaped 
by the meta-narrative of Israel's history, and so on. At the same time, 
however, we can only encounter this Jesus — not the historical figure, 
but the one that is fully alive now in the Spirit, the same Spirit that 
was seen descending upon him in the Jordan — in and through the 
Church. The Spirit comes upon Jesus and remains with him for the 

22 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

rest of the story and into his risen life, which becomes inseparable 
from the life of the people of God. 

The Gospels are products of believing communities, confirma- 
tions of the existence and vitality of the ancient Church. Together 
with the liturgical performances of baptism and Eucharist, they are 
the privileged expressions of that Church's faith. To discover Jesus in 
the Gospels, therefore, is — however indirectly or unknowingly — to 
touch the believing community that proclaims and shares its remem- 
brance of him. The Fourth Week, consequently, is not a progression 
of reflections on a resuscitated Jesus but a set of meditations on the 
ecclesial Jesus, that is, Jesus in relationship to the Church. These 
contemplations suppose sufficient maturity of spirit and interior 
freedom — perhaps the right Ignatian word would be "mortifica- 
tion" — to enable a person to live in and for others. The dying to self 
that rises in community would be another expression of Fourth 
Week grace, which once again sets these contemplations apart from 
those of the Second and Third Weeks. 24 

The First Week experience of forgiveness likewise grows and 
develops as one shifts from the experience of being the individual 
sinner before God to the experience of belonging to the community 
of disciples — a community that is itself sinful and needful of God's 
healing love, yet which, through the very act of sharing its life, 
becomes the instrument of forgiveness and the place where the 
believer feels whole and accepted. When the Exercises direct us to 
ask for an experience of the glory and joy of the risen Christ, it is 
implicitly inviting us to recognize the Church as the chief expression 
of that glory and the principal motive for Jesus' joy. 

In this sense the resurrection is not just about Jesus. It ought 
not to be thought of as the greatest personal moment of his life, the 
sort of vindication that the Maccabean martyrs longed for or the 
everlasting happiness that awaits the righteous. The resurrection is 
above all about the God of Israel, the world's Creator. And from the 
perspective within which we are considering it here, the resurrection 

The memorable words of Oscar Romero come to mind: "I have often been 
threatened with death. I must tell you, as a Christian, I do not believe in death 
without resurrection. If I am killed, I shall rise in the Salvadoran people. I say so 
without boasting, with the greatest humility/' The archbishop's words are a moving 
expression of Fourth Week grace. See James R. Brockman, Romero: A Life (Maryknoll, 
N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1989), 248. 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 23 

is about this God's formation of a people so closely tied to Jesus that 
they can even be called the "bod/ 7 of Christ. To find Jesus is, espe- 
cially in the Fourth Week, to find the Church. 25 

The sequence of the fourteen mysteries or contemplations 
from Easter to the Ascension (SpEx 299-312) does not seem to hold 
any particular historical or theological significance, except in the case 
of the appearance to Paul, which I shall come to shortly. And it 
could very well be that Ignatius never intended a person in the 
Fourth Week to approach the Easter appearances as primitive re- 
membrances of the events that took place after the crucifixion. 26 
Taken together, these appearances re-form Christian religious sensi- 
bility so that it becomes increasingly ecclesial; and the more ecclesial 
our sensibility becomes, the sharper fix we have on what "service of 
God our Lord" meant for Ignatius. In fact, there is no reason why 
we could not append to these Fourth Week contemplations the two 
sea stories — an awakened Jesus calming the wind and the waves, a 
ghostlike Jesus walking over the water. The Jesus of these stories so 
closely resembles the paschal Jesus and the disciples on the boat are 
such an apt figure of the Church that they had to have been com- 
posed in light of the Easter experience. 27 All of these contemplations 


The same Spirit that pervades the history of Israel ("that gave the ten 
commandments") and, we could add, the ministry of Jesus also guides the Church 
(SpEx 365). For a variety of reasons, the first part of rule 13 ("what I see to be white I 
will believe to be black") is less palatable today and needs nuance; its underlying 
ecclesiology sounds rigid. But from what Ignatius says it seems that ecclesiology 
presupposes a theology of the Holy Spirit, not the other way around. Thus, while the 
Exercises can certainly never be enlisted to support a "shadow community," a 
Christian path somehow independent of the larger Church — an access to the life of 
Christ that bypasses the wider communion — it does appear that for Ignatius 
experience of the Spirit is logically prior to the existence of the Church. If this is so, 
then every effort to renew or reform the Church has to proceed from an experience 
of the same Spirit that guided and empowered Jesus. 


Following Luke and the liturgical calendar, Ignatius views the ascension 
"temporally," that is, as something that took place forty days after the resurrection 
and not (following John) as occurring on Easter day itself. Luke's reason for spacing 
the two moments appears to have been ecclesiologjcal, namely, to terminate the 
Easter appearances and demarcate the paschal experience from the age of the Spirit. 
But this spacing left Paul out of the interval, and Ignatius clearly wants him inside, 
not just on account of what Paul will write (1 Cor. 15:8) but also because of his — 
Ignatius's — own experience of being called. 


Why, I ask myself, did Jesus intend to pass them by (Mark 6:48)? I think 
the answer is that Jesus never intends to "get into the boat"; it should be enough for 

24 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

nurture a religious awareness that anticipates future encounters with 
the risen Jesus within history. The resurrection appearances, we 
might say, are proleptic to the core; they reach forward into history. 

Ignatius's own visionary experiences would seem to confirm 
the point. After Manresa, could he have been surprised at the 
various ways in which he would later "see" the risen Jesus? In no. 29 
of his so-called autobiography, for example, Ignatius has this to tell us: 

Often, and for a long time, as he was in prayer, he used to see with 
his interior eyes the humanity of Christ. As for the form that used to 
appear to him, it was like a white body, not very big nor very small, 
but he did not see any distinction of limbs. 28 

On the way to Venice, he tells us, "while he was there [in a big field 
somewhere between Padua and Venice] Christ appeared to him in 

the way he normally appeared" 
— — —■ - -~^^ — ^^— ^^ (no. 41). Later, on the voyage to 
Likewise, along a related line Jerusalem, we find this: "Through- 
of thinking, the nativity out this time ° ur Lord often a P" 

episodes could be linked to P eared t0 him ' which S ave him 

the passion narrative, for S reat consolation and energy. 

that is where the first sounds Moreove f' * seemed *> h ™ ^ 

£ • +• j u ~z repeatedly saw a large round ob- 

of rejection and suffering are . r J t r ?,«,,-*, 

to be heard. Ject ' a PP arentl y of S old ( 44 )- I S na " 

tius mentions at the end of the 

— — — — — — — — ^— autobiography that he had visions 

often, "when he saw Christ like a 

sun" (99). Curiously, the description of the famous vision at La 

Storta sounds more like an intense conviction than a vision or 

"seeing" of the risen Jesus. As we are told, 

And being one day in a church some miles before arrival in Rome, 
and making prayer, he sensed such a change in his soul, and he saw 

us to know that the risen Jesus always "sees" the Church when it strains "against an 
adverse wind." It should be no more necessary for him to step into the boat than for 
Thomas to stick his finger into Jesus' hand. Faith ought not to be insisting upon such 
proofs of Jesus' real presence. 


Saint Ignatius of Loyola: Personal Writings, ed. Joseph A. Munitiz and Philip 
Endean (New York: Penguin Books, 1996), 26. Quotations are taken from this 
translation. The editors explain why "reminiscences" more aptly describes Ignatius's 
memoir than "autobiography." To avoid confusion, however, I will simply refer to 
this work as "autobiography." 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 25 

so clearly that God the Father was putting him with Christ, his Son, 
that he would not have the wilfulness to have any doubt about this: 
it could only be that God the Father was putting him with his Son. (96) 

Jesuit imaginations may have been inadvertently spoiled by 
the Rubens painting of this moment. We tend to visualize this event 
the same way one is tempted sometimes to interpret a biblical text 
literally when it should be read figuratively. The word "saw" in this 
passage, just as in the case of "see" in the accounts of the resurrec- 
tion appearances, has to be understood carefully. It might be worth 
reminding ourselves that Ignatius was dictating his story to da 
Camara. Yet even so, examining the Spanish (or in this case Italian) 
text probably will not yield any fresh insight. Sometimes we say "I 
see" when we mean "I understand"; "to see" then means "to get the 
point." It sounds as if Ignatius is saying that at La Storta he under- 
stood that the Father wanted him to be with Jesus (he doesn't say 
that he "saw" Jesus at this moment). The experience bordered on 
absolute certitude ("sino que Dios Padre le ponia con su Hijo") but 
at the same time "he would not have the wilfulness to have any 
doubt" ("no tendria animo para dudar de esto"). 

The issue here is more than semantic. In 1 Corinthians 15, 
Paul lists what had become by his time some well-known Easter 
appearances: "He appeared to 

Cephas, then to the twelve"; "then "^^—^— -— ^— ^~^^^~ 
he appeared to more than five hun- j^ n ^ w ifh wn { cn human 

dred brothers and sisters at one beings does the risen Jesus 

time"; "then he appeared to James, identify most closely? All of 

then to all the apostles"; "last of all MS know the answer 

... he appeared also to me." The 
word "appeared" in this text is the — — — — — — 

aorist passive of the word "to 

see" — Jesus "was seen [by]"; so too in Luke 24:34 ("and he has 
appeared to Simon"). Much has been written on the meaning of this 
verb by New Testament scholars that I will not rehearse here. 29 The 


On the use of the verb form, see James D. G. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit 
(Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975), 104ff. In The Theology of Paul the Apostle 
(Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1998), Dunn notes: "The passive opthe, ('was seen 
by, appeared to') also indicates an understanding of the givenness of the vision and 
of something/someone there to be seen" (239). See also N. T. Wright, The Resurrection 
of the Son of God (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 323; Jon Sobrino, Christ the 
Liberator (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 2001), 59 f.; Gerald O'Collins, Christology (New 

26 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

use of the passive voice seems to indicate a nuancing of the verb "to 
see" — the visionary experience is not so straightforward as to elimi- 
nate every trace of a doubt. As the New Testament scholar Raymond 
Collins explains, "The traditional Jewish understanding of divine 
transcendence, particularly strong at the time of Paul, suggests that 
the use of this traditional language with regard to a manifestation of 
the divine did not imply physical sight." 30 In other words, any 
"seeing" of the risen Jesus could not be divorced from the faith that 
made such seeing possible in the first place. 

At La Storta, Ignatius's faith was the condition for the possibil- 
ity of the visionary experience. Hence, the vision by itself should not 
be understood as empirical proof of a real encounter with the divine 
mystery. Similarly, the listing of appearances in 1 Corinthians 15 
should not be taken as straightforward proofs independent of the 
faith that made such experiences possible to begin with. They are 
confirmatory and reflect apostolic testimonies, but they are also 
(even in the case of Paul) rooted in a prior openness to the very real 
possibility that the Creator God can "raise the dead." Yet is not this 
stress on the priority of faith — this a-priori openness to the divine 
mystery — fully consistent with the gospel tradition that records Jesus 
saying, long before Easter, "Your faith has made you well" (Mark 
5:34)? 31 

It may be worth adding that Paul's listing of the appearances 
in 1 Corinthians 15 has much to do with claims to apostleship and 
thus to the ground of his authority. The British scripture scholar 
James D. G. Dunn writes as follows: 

The resurrection appearances took place over a limited period and 
after a time ceased, and only those who experienced one could 

York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 92 f.; and id., Interpreting Jesus (New York: 
Paulist Press, 1983), 108-30. 


Raymond F. Collins, First Corinthians, Sacra Pagina series, no. 7 
(Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1999), 535. Collins continues: "In the biblical 
accounts of a manifestation of the divine, auditory elements predominate/' Even in 
the case of the resurrection appearances, such an auditory element becomes essential. 
One does not "see" the call to mission; it has to be "heard." 


There are numerous instances where, for Jesus, faith is the condition for the 
possibility of miracles. I think particularly of Mark 9:23 ("If you are able! All things 
can be done for the one who believes") or, by contrast, of Mark 6:5 6f. ("And he could 
do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and 
cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief"). 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week ^ 27 

justify their claim to apostleship. . . . His Damascus road experience was 
not simply the first of several or many experiences of the same kind; for Paul 
it was the last of a number of experiences of a unique kind" 32 

Dunn goes on to explain that these resurrection appearances always 
included a call to mission: "It was not the seeing itself nor the 
commissioning itself which was distinctive for Paul but the appear- 
ance as call, the encounter as commission/' 33 

Now, I doubt that Ignatius picked up on the theological 
connection between Easter appearances and claims to apostleship, 
although he undoubtedly grasped the idea of being called and sent 
by the risen Jesus as fundamental 

to the Easter stories. 34 After all, — ^~ — ~ ~ ■ — ~ — *^ — " — 
what does one do after Easter? In the end, solidarity is 

What conceivable response could inconceivable without hope 

there be to an encounter with the an d unachievable without 

risen Jesus apart from full engage- i 0V6t j ts realization is a 

ment with the kingdom of God? manifestation of Easter joy. 

Certainly, the response God ex- 
pects would not consist of stand- - — — — — " ■ "■— — ^■~— ~^~ 
ing for the rest of one's life at the 

mount of the ascension, staring at the sky! For Mark, as we have 
seen, one must return to the story's beginning, travel back to Galilee 
where the good news began, and hear Jesus' call to discipleship and 
mission from the perspective of the cross and empty tomb. 

To be sure, Ignatius directs the exercitant in the Fourth Week 
to think about things that are likely to induce a feeling of happiness, 
such as the prospect of eternal glory. But the reason for urging such 
thoughts is that the paschal experience, as if by definition, makes it 
possible to feel about humanity the way Christ does — deeply 
wounded and yet infinitely, incomprehensibly loved. The cross could 
not reveal God's love for the world apart from Easter, because it is 
Easter that announces that God will not permit death to have the 
final word about us and our history even if death is what we 


Jesus and the Spirit, pp. 102 and 103. Italics in the original. 


Ibid., 114. I omitted the italics this time. 

Calling and sending are linked in Mark 3:13 f. and 6:7, long before Easter. 
But the urgency and meaning of the mission are clearly deeper in light of the cross 
and resurrection. In addition to driving out demons and unclean spirits (3:15 and 
6:7), the Twelve will now become witnesses to Jesus risen. 

28 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

choose, even if death is what we inflict. The Fourth Week binds our 
deepest religious sensibilities with everything in human experience 
that is on the side of life. Ignatius believed that we are less likely to 
achieve such a vision if we don't give our bodies a chance to feel a 
certain release: coolness in summer, warmth in winter, moderation 
with respect to fasting and the frequency and duration of prayer, 
light and color, the thought of rejoining our companions — or scores 
of other things that would promote gladness, because gladness is the 
appropriate affective climate for contemplating the Easter stories. 
Thus he modifies the additions (SpEx 229). 

Just as we cannot think cross without resurrection or human- 
ity without divinity (SpEx 219), so too we cannot think God as 
creator apart from God as the one who raises the dead. The paschal 
mystery cements together creating and raising the dead as two sides 
of a single spiritual coin, two sides of a single religious experience. 
The presence of this second side might not have been apparent to us 
at the outset of our conversion, when we first became aware of the 
God who is creating us. As time goes on, however, one realizes that 

humanity's destiny was never in- 
tended to be Sheol. I am talking, 
Anyone who thinks that of course, about Christian religious 

ministry to God's word can sensibility, not Christian apolo- 

be carried on without getic. The resurrection of Jesus 

insertion into the daily life of cannot be advanced as historical 
God's people has probably confirmation for belief in life after 

not moved beyond death, and it certainly cannot be 

the Second Week. enlisted as indirect evidence of the 

existence of God. With all its beau- 
- — — — ^— ^^^— — ty and spiritual energy, the pas- 
chal mystery does no more than 
tell what kind of God we believe in. The resurrection of Jesus is 
unlikely to bring about a surge of hope in someone who is unsure of 
the very existence of God or who has never shared the experience of 
being known by God that we find, say, in Psalm 139. Yet even if the 
resurrection cannot be proved, the paschal mystery can be lived; and 
once lived, it can be powerfully persuasive. The most convincing 
apologetic for Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus has always 
been the community's full-bodied living out of Jesus' mission. 

Ignatius would probably have found any dividing line be- 
tween Paul's Damascus experience and subsequent visionary experi- 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 29 

ences of the risen Jesus to be both artificial and unwelcome. Perhaps 
this would help to account for his positioning the mystery of the 
risen Christ's apparition to Paul before the contemplation on the 
ascension, even though SpEx 311 notes that Jesus appeared to Paul 
after the ascension. The chronological inversion is intriguing. Igna- 
tius may have identified with Paul's sentiment in the letter to the 
Corinthians: "Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also 
to me" (1 Cor. 15:8). How would Ignatius have replied if he had 
been asked, "Did the risen Jesus ever appear to you? Did you actu- 
ally see him?" Perhaps God had indeed answered the prayer of that 
woman in Manresa with more "insight into spiritual things, "the 
woman who had asked that "Jesus Christ appear to him." 35 We can 
be reasonably confident, though, that Ignatius would never have 
hesitated to say that he had heard himself being called by the Father 
to join the Son on his mission. In this sense, everyone beyond the 
apostolic generation who experiences such a call could justifiably 
claim to be "untimely born." 

Another element of Fourth Week grace, therefore, would be 
the conviction that we have been called to live in and for the people 
of God, with all that this implies. 

IV. Worldly Consequences 

A Political and Social Grace? 

I have been making the case that our understanding of the 
grace of the Fourth Week depends upon how we understand the 
resurrection narratives themselves. The parameters of this grace have 
been determined, not by Ignatius's religious experience, but by 
gospel texts and the underlying religious experience of the apostolic 
generation. Since there is more than one spiritual fruit enclosed in 
the resurrection stories, perhaps we really ought to be talking in the 
plural about "graces." Because the Gospels were composed from the 
perspective of Easter faith, I have also been suggesting that a num- 
ber of scenes within the gospel narrative, not just the Easter appari- 
tions, could be used as the basis for Fourth Week meditations, 
provided one knows what one is doing. Likewise, along a related 
line of thinking, the nativity episodes could be linked to the passion 


Autobiography, no. 37. Again, it is not enough to "see"; above all one has to "hear.' 

30 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

narrative, for that is where the first sounds of rejection and suffering 
are to be heard. 36 

As someone is introduced to the narrative of faith, the various 
Christian themes or doctrines might appear to be discrete, unrelated 
elements of belief. Eventually, however, one grasps the mystery with 
a certain wholeness of vision. Gospel moments gradually slide back 
and forth into one another. The fact that the Fourth Gospel opens 
with a focus on the Incarnation, for example, does not necessarily 
mean that the Incarnation is Christian faith's starting point, even 
though Ignatius links it to the Nativity. Incarnation can be its end 
point or conclusion, since we do not know the full significance of 
the Word's becoming flesh until the cross and resurrection. The 
Word resurrected is the actual starting point, I would think, even 
though that is not where the contemplations of the Exercises begin. 
Yet resurrection in turn presupposes the meta-narrative of creation, 
even as it brings our theology of creation to an entirely new level. 

To take another example, the story of the loaves and fishes 
would be incomplete without Easter, just as the ecclesial resonance 
in Jesus' words to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven" (Mark 
2:5), is heard more distinctly because of John 20:21-23, since the 
mission given by the risen Jesus has everything to do with forgive- 
ness, reconciliation, and lifting burdens. Forgiveness of sins is not 

something the Son of Man alone 
^^^^__^„_^^^.^^^^^ has the authority to grant; so do 

— , , , , , his followers. Otherwise, why 

The gospel story has to be hand on ^ ? ^ SQ Qn 

reclaimed continually, or else 

its lifegiving urgency will be In recent y ears writers have 

lost. The tomb is empty. attended closely to the important 

connection between Jesus' death 
— — — ^^— — — — and his resurrection that one hears 

in the messenger's words, "You 
are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been 
raised', he is not here" (Mark 16:6). The one who was raised never 
loses the marks of crucifixion (John 20:27) — consoling words for 
victims, unsettling words for everybody else. Anyone earnestly 
looking for this Jesus — the Jesus whose ministry we have contem- 
plated and whose history we have followed — should not be search- 

36 See Raymond Brown, An Adult Christ at Christmas (Collegeville: The 
Liturgical Press, 1978). 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 31 

ing the skies but the world — "toda la planicia o redondez de todo el 
mundo llena de hombres" ("the whole world, whether flat or round, 
yet filled with human beings" [SpEx 102]). And with which human 
beings does the risen Jesus identify most closely? All of us know the 
answer; its logic requires no explanation. The divine Word pitched 
its tent, preferentially, among the poorest. At the heart of the story, 
just as at the heart of human history, one discovers the Word be- 
come victim. For victims, the story of Jesus becomes an account of 
God's // no ,/ to every form of injustice and oppression, a protest 
against the forces, structures, and relationships that have defaced 
and destroyed them, a story of prophetic resistance to the reign of 

For the rest of us, the gospel story delivers an enduring, 
nonnegotiable challenge — in the unforgettable phrasing of Jon 
Sobrino and Ignacio Ellacuria 37 — to take the crucified ones down 
from their crosses, historical imaging that breathes freshness into the 
meditation on Joseph of Arima- 
thea. In this regard, the grace of 

the Fourth Week is both social and The moving of the stone is 

political; it drives one's prayer and not about Jesus getting out of 
imagination deeply into the world "the place they laid him" but 
and deeply into history. The only about the women— and the 

way to escape participating in the reader— getting in. 

dynamics of oppression is to learn 

how to live in solidarity with — —— — -————■ —— — — 
those whose lives are being de- 
formed by poverty and violence. Learning how to live in solidarity 
is, at least for us today, a liberating grace of the Fourth Week — a 
grace without which the Easter mission would be practically para- 

Our ears may have grown too accustomed to the rhetoric of 
liberation theology, but I believe its perspective is absolutely on 
target here as an expression of the grace of the Fourth Week. The 
proper wording for this grace is "realized solidarity," a term that has 
found its place alongside the formulas "faith that does justice" and 


See Jon Sobrino, The Principle of Mercy: Taking the Crucified People from the 
Cross (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1994), and Ignacio Ellacuria, "The Crucified People," 
in Mysterium Liberationis: Fundamental Concepts of Liberation Theology, ed. Ignacio 
Ellacuria and Jon Sobrino (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1993), 580-603. 

32 <$- William Reiser, S.J. 

"the preferential option for the poor/' I would propose further that 
the experience of solidarity changes as one moves through the 
Weeks, as the Gospels keep challenging us to examine our loyalties 
and social location. 38 Are we being untrue to the Exercises by bring- 
ing in the notion of solidarity with its far-reaching social and politi- 
cal connotations? Not at all. The political and social orders have been 
permanently woven into the gospel fabric. We would be unable to 
appreciate (and therefore could not faithfully retell) the story of 
Jesus if we knew nothing about the cultural and economic, the social 
and political circumstances both of his life and that of the early 
communities. What history is summed up in the Creed's brief phrase 
"he was crucified under Pontius Pilate"! To proclaim that Jesus is 
Lord was to affirm that Caesar is not; to live for God's kingdom was 
to reject the way the empire wielded patronage and power. 39 Chris- 
tian holiness today cannot afford to be apolitical; solidarity is essen- 
tially partisan — it is born from the same preferential option that 
governs the logic behind the third level of freedom (SpEx 155 and 167). 


A First Week experience of solidarity might be approximated this way (in 
the words of John Paul II): "By virtue of human solidarity which is as mysterious and 
intangible as it is real and concrete, each individual's sin in some way affects others" 
(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church [Washington: United States 
Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005], 53). The number of index entries under 
"solidarity" furnishes some idea of how extensively the term has been used in the 
Church's official statements. A form of solidarity appropriate to the Second Week 
might be a oneness with Jesus and the people that is properly "ideological," together 
with a thoroughgoing embrace of the principles underlying the kingdom of God. In 
the case of the disciples, there was a oneness but it was as yet untested, and the 
necessity of solidarity being rooted in shared suffering was something they did not 
yet understand. On this score, their hearts were still hardened. 


"I therefore propose that the clash between Jesus and his Jewish 
contemporaries, especially the Pharisees, must be seen in terms of alternative political 
agendas generated by alternative eschatologjcal beliefs and expectations" (N. T. 
Wright, The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is [Downers Grove, 111.: 
InterVarsity Press, 1999], 58). And again: "The gospel of Jesus as king of the Jews is 
then placed, by implication, in tension with the rule of Herod as king of the Jews, 
until the latter's sudden death in chapter 12 [of Acts]; whereupon the gospel of Jesus 
as lord of the world is placed in tension with the rule of Caesar as lord of the world, 
a tension which comes to the surface in [Acts] 17.7 and smolders on through to the 
pregnant but powerful statement of the closing passage, with Paul in Rome speaking 
of the kingdom of the true god and the Lordship of Jesus himself" (Wright, 
Resurrection of the Son of God, 569). 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <$ 33 

In the Fourth Week, then, solidarity, like companionship with 
Jesus, assumes a specifically paschal character. If oneness with the 
victim — and, through the One, with all victims — is a Third Week 
grace in which this oneness is experienced as consolation, then in 
the Fourth Week this same oneness is accompanied by an unshak- 
able Tightness, the firmest conviction that in standing alongside 
victims we are standing with God and that the Father himself has 
placed us there. Such an experience empowers us profoundly. In the 
Fourth Week, like the seer in the book of Revelation, one envisions 
and dares to hope for a world remade, where no one will ever again 
hang upon a cross. A person living in the Fourth Week might well 
have to endure crucifixion, as when Paul exclaimed, "I have been 
crucified with Christ" (Gal. 2:19) and felt himself still hanging there 
with Jesus. But one also experiences being with Christ crucified as 
ultimately redemptive and healing, for there is no other way to 
make all things new, no other way to glory. Feeling the power of a 
love so strong that it elects solidarity over denial and flight is a 
paschal grace. In the end, solidarity is inconceivable without hope 
and unachievable without love. Its realization is a manifestation of 
Easter joy. As Jon Sobrino writes, 

We can live in history with resignation or desperation, but we can 
also live with hope in a promise. And this happens. Those who have 
radical hope for the victims of this world, who are not convinced 
that resignation is the last word or consoled by the claim that these 
victims have already served a positive purpose, can include in their 
experience a hope analogous to that with which Jesus' resurrection 
was first grasped and can direct their lives to taking the victims 
down from the cross. Furthermore, those who, in the midst of this 
history of crucifixion, celebrate what there is of fullness and have the 
freedom to give their own lives will, perhaps, not see history as 
nonsensical or as a repetition of itself but as the promise of a "more" 
that touches us and draws us despite ourselves. This experience can 
be formulated in various ways, but one of these has to be "walking 
with God in history," as Micah puts it, or as an encounter — in faith, 
in hope, and in love — with the God who raised Jesus. 40 


Sobrino, Christ the Liberator, 78. 

34 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

Any approach to ministry that regards the world and its 
concerns as either irrelevant or peripheral to life in the Spirit is, I 
believe, locked into the First Week. And anyone who thinks that 
ministry to God's word can be carried on without insertion into the 
daily life of God's people has probably not moved beyond the 
Second Week. When the Jerusalem apostles determined that "it is 
not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at 
tables" (Acts 6:2), they may have set an unfortunate precedent. Not 
only can apostles lose contact with God's people if they devote 
themselves exclusively to prayer and "serving the word." They may 
forget that God's word does not hover above God's people as a 
timeless text; it dwells and breathes within them. In this regard, 
Paul's strategy of working to support himself as he went on mission 
may have paid an unexpected dividend. Forms of apostleship 
engaged with and by the world strike me as more in keeping with 
the paschal experience. 

Consolation in the Fourth Week 

When Ignatius directs us in SpEx 224 to consider how the 
risen Christ "consoles" his disciples in the way friends are accus- 
tomed to "console" one another, he does not have in mind the way 
we console one another over the loss of a loved one at a wake or 
funeral. Jesus, after all, has been raised from the dead. The word 

"console," like the noun "consola- 
____ __ tion," covers a range of interior 

movements. In the first, the soul is 
Our sense of Jesus' absence is so mflam ed with love for its Cre- 
heightened in proportion to ator and Lor d that nothing else 
our awareness of all the COVL \& ever be loved for itself alone 
things that are wrong with but only in God. In the second, 
the world. Suffering remains, one's love for the Lord comes to 
especially the suffering expression in tears that are 
brought on by sin. prompted by, for example, the 
recollection of one's sins, the re- 
membrance of Jesus' suffering, or 
the awareness of something else that has to do with serving and 
praising him. In the third, consolation consists of every increase of 
faith, hope, and charity, as well as every internal delight that comes 
from thinking about the kingdom of God and the way God has been 
at work in our lives, so that as a consequence our hearts are left 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week <& 35 

"quieted and at peace" in our Creator and Lord — "quietandola y 
pacificandola en su Criador y Senor" (SpEx 316). 

To consider Jesus as the one who consoles, therefore, is to 
realize what happens upon "seeing" the risen Lord, or perhaps more 
pointedly, upon "hearing" him. As a result of hearing him, in the 
premier instance, the two disciples returning from Emmaus exclaim, 
"Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us 
on the road?" (Luke 24:32). This explosive realization conveys that 
sense of increased faith, hope, and love of which Ignatius speaks. It 
communicates the sense of a love of God so thoroughgoing that 
every affection is rearranged around it. And it suggests a happiness 
so deep and sudden that one is moved to tears. At such a moment, a 
person imagines nothing more desirable and gratifying than spend- 
ing every waking hour for the rest of one's life, if that were possible, 
thinking and talking with others about Jesus, and responding to his call. 

Without a doubt, someone praying in the Fourth Week would 
want to experience Jesus as the one who consoles us. But when 
Ignatius adds "as friends are accustomed to do" ("como unos amigos 
suelen consolar a otros"), he seems to be intimating that another 
grace of this week is that of doing 
what the risen Jesus does, namely, 

being a source of consolation for The route to blessedness and 
others — and taking delight in the peace was never intended to 

fact that others are drawing new lead us out of the world but 

life from us, or what the "Formula more deeply into it. 

of the Institute" refers to as "the 
spiritual consolation of Christ's 

faithful." This aspect of Fourth Week grace has to do with delight 
and satisfaction in speaking with others about Jesus, and doing so in 
such a way that the focus is not on us but on him, and noticing 
others responding to what they are hearing with an increase in faith, 
hope, and love: "Were not our hearts burning?" And here we have 
an accurate description of the evangelists at work. 

Nothing guarantees that someone will remain forever a person 
of the Fourth Week. High spiritual achievement, however costly and 
however long in coming, can never be permanently secure. Experi- 
ences fade, important lessons can be forgotten, newness gives way 
to routine, the desperately poor outside the gate become invisible, 
protest and resistance give way to resignation and surrender. The 
master, it seems, delays his return too long. For all these reasons, the 

36 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

young man's instruction to return to Galilee, to the place where the 
story first began, never loses its "wild and precious" ring: "He is 
going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told 
you" (Mark 16:7). The gospel story has to be reclaimed continually, 
or else its lifegiving urgency will be lost. 41 The tomb is empty. 

V. Conclusion 

So, What about the Stone? 

That writers would be drawn to interpret the stone figurative- 
ly is understandable. As Gerald O'Collins put it, 

This detail in the Easter story has often made me think of the many 
things in the world and in our lives that look impossible. They may 
be sufferings that we cannot cope with, injustices that seem unfor- 
givable, or difficulties that look quite insuperable. If we imagine 
ourselves to be inside the tomb, we can sharpen further the sense of 
our powerlessness. Many of us can feel dead and locked in a tomb 
by some great stone. 42 

Ched Myers says something similar: 

This stone symbolizes everything that impedes the Church from 
continuing the narrative of biblical radicalism. It represents our 
paralysis whenever we conclude that the discipleship journey is a 
dead-end, that Jesus' vision of love and justice is, for all practical 
purposes, a well-meaning delusion. 43 

Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that the little detail about the stone 
has hitchhiked its exegetical way merely as a spiritual figure or 
metaphor for anything that may be entombing us and keeping us 
from the freedom and joy of Christ's risen life. The rational side of 
my brain wants to say that, if indeed the stone was too large for 

I am borrowing here from Mary Oliver's wonderful poem "Summer Day/' 
where she asks, at the end, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild 
and precious life?" (New and Selected Poems [Boston: Beacon Press, 1992], 94). 

^Gerald O'Collins, "Easter Stories/' in The Way Supplement no. 99 (2000), 39. 

Ched Myers, Who Will Roll Away the Stone? Discipleship Queries for First World 
Christians (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1994), 412. The stone blocking us might be 
"addictions, family violence, urban decay, ecocide" (413); or it might be "the 
architecture of domination, which we dare not challenge yet constantly reproduce in 
our own lives" (414). 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week ^ 37 

three women to roll it away (following Mark's account), then the 
stone had probably been rolled away after reports of someone's 
having seen Jesus risen; it was moved by human hands, not divine 
ones. Yet this is not what the gospel text says. 

Of course, the use of the passive voice — "had already been 

rolled back" — could very well be a first instance of the divine passive 

in this passage, the second being "He has been raised." 44 The rolling 

away of the stone would thereby become another way of referring 

to the resurrection itself. In other 

words, the stone is probably not a . 

historical detail but a theological ^ . * * -n 

r^ L .u . . The answer is to stay with 

one. The moving of the stone is ,, , * ,, 

not about Jesus getting out of "the the W* ^fuOUr the 

place they laid him," but about the P nce \° h * P atd > to } et the 

women-and the reader-getting cirde °f our lo y alt V and 

in. And once inside, it is not Jesus affection enlarge, and never 

that we discover, but the Easter to lose si 8 ht °f that s P int 

witness. Which means that, at which God has breathed into 
least in the case of Mark's Gospel, each and every one of us. 

it is not the women who become ^^__^^^___ mmm __ m _ mm 
the Easter witnesses (we are in- 
formed, after all, that "they said nothing to anyone, for they were 
afraid") but the evangelist himself. The evangelist is the one who has 
rolled the stone away; it is he who has directed us to search for the 
risen Jesus among the living and trained our minds to recognize the 
marks of crucifixion. 

Can There Be Fourth Week Desolation? 

One more thing remains to be said about Fourth Week grace. 
For lack of a more felicitous term I will call it the "grace" of Fourth 
Week desolation. Ignatius writes in SpEx 320 and 322 that a person 
who is experiencing desolation needs to consider whether, in some 
cases, God might be doing a bit of testing and teaching — counsel 
appropriate to a First Week experience. Sometimes desolation can be 
salutary. But what about the desolation or sadness that arises from a 


Myers describes this use of the passive voice as "the grammar of divine 

action" (414). 

38 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

penetrating awareness of Christ's absence, the not-yet pole of Chris- 
tian experience? 

Although Ignatius does not consider desolation as something 
that might happen during the Fourth Week, the sense of "real 
absence" is what led the disciples to awaken Jesus as he slept 
through the raging storm, and perhaps later to wonder why he 
stayed behind and allowed them to sail off alone into restless seas. 
"Real absence" seems to have been the reason the early Church took 
up the practice of fasting: "The days will come when the bridegroom 
is taken away from them, and then they will fast on that day" (Mark 
2:20). The "little while" of which Jesus speaks in John 16:16 suggests 
both a short-term absence and a long-term. Jesus returns with Easter, 
but Jesus' definitive union with his friends, and their union with 
him, has to wait. "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will 
come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there 
you may be also" (John 14:3). The risen Jesus can be touched by 
faith but not by sight. 45 

Our sense of Jesus' absence is heightened in proportion to our 
awareness of all the things that are wrong with the world. Suffering 
remains, especially the suffering brought on by sin. The raising of 
Jesus has awakened and intensified in creation itself the hope that it 
"will be set free from its bondage to decay" (Rom. 8:21). One of the 
Beatitudes reads, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for 
righteousness" (Matt. 5:6). "Hunger" and "thirst" sound better than 
"desolation"; but when Ignatius speaks in SpEx 320 of the Lord's 
withdrawing fervor, love, and grace, we seem to be moving close to 
the experience of Jesus on the cross — a graphic embodiment of 
someone hungering and thirsting for justice, yet at the same time a 
chilling representation of divine absence. There are times when the 
ragged, unfinished character of our lives and our common history 
threaten to overwhelm our capacity for hope. At such moments all 
the paschal reassurance in the world is not going to bring redemp- 
tion any closer. Karl Rahner once wrote that 

45 Sandra Schneiders developed this point in her "Touching the Risen Jesus: 
Mary Magdalene and Thomas the Twin in John 20," Proceedings of the Sixtieth 
Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America 60 (2005): 13-35. 
See especially pp. 30-35. 

Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week -& 39 

[although I took part in the elaboration of Gaudium et spes at the 
Council, I would not deny that its undertone is too euphoric in its 
evaluation of humanity and the human condition. What it says may 
be true, but it produces the overall impression that it is enough to 
observe its norms, and everything will more or less turn out well. 

It does not insist enough on the fact that all human endeavors, 
with all their sagacity and goodwill, often end up in blind alleys; that 
in questions of morality, when we really face the whole of reality, we 
get lost in obscurities which no moral formula can wholly remove. In 
short, as Scripture says, the world is in a bad way and it will stay 
that way, even if, as we are obliged to do, we fight against evil to the 
death. 46 

The intense joy asked for in the Fourth Week remains an 
eschatological joy. That is, the Easter stories project God's future into 
our minds and hearts, a vision of creation begun all over again. But 
those "new heavens and new earth" are not merely a long way off; 
they are never going to be realized in real time and space, no matter 
how earnestly we pray for the coming of God's kingdom. On the 
other hand, to attempt living without hope gets us nowhere either. 
The God who creates is at the same time the God who raises the 
dead. It is easy to see why the idea of heaven would become so 
appealing: a state of blessedness beyond the grave, a spiritual exis- 
tence with a radically different sort of body and a definitive escape 
from the suffering of the present age. The simplest way to overcome 
the tension between already and not yet is to reduce history to a 
vale of tears and the material world to a messy, dispensable middle 
step on the way to our becoming pure spirits. The material universe, 
like the human body itself, would one day be cast off and replaced 
by an eternal and immaterial kingdom. But this is not what "the 
resurrection of the body" means. 

Let us suppose, by contrast, that the route to blessedness and 
peace was never intended to lead us out of the world but more 
deeply into it. Let us suppose that the cup of suffering has to be 
drunk, that the baptism of which Jesus spoke has to be endured, 
because his is the only way to become more human together and 
there is no other way to drive out demons. "Are you able to drink 

Karl Rahner, "Christian Pessimism," in Theological Investigations, vol. 22 (New 
York: Crossroad, 1991), 157 f. 

40 ^ William Reiser, S.J. 

the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am 
baptized with?" (Mark 10:38). Rahner's words about Christian pessi- 
mism are sobering: there is an understandable desolation that comes 
from attending to the vast human desert before us. What then is to 
be done? 

The answer, I think, is to stay with the people, no matter the 
price to be paid, to let the circle of our loyalty and affection enlarge, 
and never to lose sight of that spirit which God has breathed into 
each and every one of us. We simply have to master the lesson 
about how to live in and for others: the experience of doing so is a 
supreme example of consolation. In living for and in others, espe- 
cially history's victims and throwaways, we grasp at last what the 
Creator and Lord is like. This great consolation, however, cannot be 
won without dying; to embrace the world passionately is to be 
crucified to it. And herein lies a paradox we have known all along. 

In my imagination, as the lights fade and the curtain descends, 
the messenger in the tomb stands, exits, and rolls the stone back 
across the tomb's entrance. We have been told that Jesus is not 
among the dead and that there should be no reason for ever going 
back to the place where they laid him. Mark's narrative about naked 
men, howling demons, disobedient women, and witless apostles has 
taken us over. One goes back to the Jordan where the story began, 
perhaps with questions more pressing than ever, yet convinced — 
happily convinced — that there is no other way to pass through this 
world than to walk in Jesus' company. 




I want to thank you for publishing 
Charles Jackson's superb essay "Some- 
thing Happened to Me at Manresa: 
The Mystical Origin of the Ignatian 
Charism" (Summer 2006). Charlie 
seems to get inside Ignatius and to 
grasp something of the profound up- 
heaval caused in him by God's loving 
presence. I especially appreciated his 
preference for finding the "desire" of 
God than for finding the "will" of 
God. I have not seen this anywhere 
else, and believe that it hits upon 
something profound about God that 
Ignatius intuited at Manresa, and es- 

pecially at the Cardoner. To speak of 
finding God's desire is to speak of 
friendship and cooperation in a family 
business. If you fall in love with God, 
you want to do what God wants you 
to do because you know that you 
can't do anything better with your 
life. Charlie Jackson has hit a home 
run with this one. 

William A. Barry, S.J. 

Tertian Instructor, Campion Center 
319 Concord Road 
Weston, MA 02493 


Past Issues: Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits 

(For prices, see inside back cover.) 

1/1 Sheets, Profile of the Contemporary Jesuit (Sept. 1969) 
1/2 Ganss, Authentic Spiritual Exercises: History and Terminology (Nov. 1969) 
2/1 Burke, Institution and Person (Feb. 1970) 
2/2 Futrell, Ignatian Discernment (Apr. 1970) 
2/3 Lonergan, Response of the Jesuit as Priest and Apostle (Sept. 1970) 
3/1 Wright, Grace of Our Founder and the Grace of Our Vocation (Feb. 1971) 
3/2 O'Flaherty, Some Reflections on Jesuit Commitment (Apr. 1971) 
3/4 Toner, A Method for Communal Discernment of God's Will (Sept. 1971) 
3/5 Sheets, Toward a Theology of the Religious Life (Nov. 1971) 
4/2 Two Discussions: I. Spiritual Direction, II. Leadership and Authority (Mar. 1972) 
4/3 Orsy, Some Questions about the Purpose and Scope of the General Congregation (June 1972) 
4/4 Ganss, Wright, O'Malley, O'Donovan, Dulles, On Continuity and Change: A Symposium 
(Oct. 1972) 
5/1-2 O'Flaherty, Renewal: Call and Response (Jan.-Mar. 1973) 
5/3 Arrupe, McNaspy, The Place of Art in Jesuit Life (Apr. 1973) 
5/4 Haughey, The Pentecostal Thing and Jesuits (June 1973) 

5/5 Orsy, Toward a Theological Evaluation of Communal Discernment (Oct. 1973) 
6/3 Knight, Joy and Judgment in Religious Obedience (Apr. 1974) 
7/1 Wright, Ganss, Orsy, On Thinking with the Church Today (Jan. 1975) 
7/2 Ganss, Christian Life Communities from the Sodalities (Mar. 1975) 
7/3 Connolly, Contemporary Spiritual Direction: Scope and Principles (June 1975) 
7/5 Buckley, The Confirmation of a Promise; Padberg, Continuity and Change in General 

Congregation XXXII (Nov. 1975) 
8/1 O'Neill, Acatamiento: Ignatian Reverence (Jan. 1976) 
8/2-3 De la Costa, Sheridan, and others, On Becoming Poor: A Symposium on Evangelical Poverty 
(Mar.-May 1976) 
8/4 Faricy, Jesuit Community: Community of Prayer (Oct. 1976) 
9/1-2 Becker, Changes in U.S. Jesuit Membership, 1958-75; Others, Reactions and Explanations 
(Jan.-Mar. 1977) 
9/4 Connolly, Land, Jesuit Spiritualities and the Struggle for Social Justice (Sept. 1977). 
9/5 Gill, A Jesuit's Account of Conscience (Nov. 1977) 
10/1 Kammer, "Burn-Out"— Dilemma for the Jesuit Social Activist (Jan. 1978) 
10/4 Harvanek, Status of Obedience in the Society of Jesus; Others, Reactions to Connolly-Land 

(Sept. 1978) 
11/1 Clancy, Feeling Bad about Feeling Good (Jan. 1979) 
11/2 Maruca, Our Personal Witness as Power to Evangelize Culture (Mar. 1979) 
11/3 Klein, American Jesuits and the Liturgy (May 1979) 
11/5 Conwell, The Kamikaze Factor: Choosing Jesuit Ministries (Nov. 1979) 
12/2 Henriot, Appleyard, Klein, Living Together in Mission: A Symposium on Small Apostolic 

Communities (Mar. 1980) 
12/3 Conwell, Living and Dying in the Society of Jesus (May 1980) 
12/4-5 Schineller, Newer Approaches to Christology and Their Use in the Spiritual Exercises (Sept.-Nov. 

13/1 Peter, Alcoholism in Jesuit Life (Jan. 1981) 

13/3 Ganss, Towards Understanding the Jesuit Brothers' Vocation (May 1981) 

13/4 Reites, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jews (Sept. 1981) 

14/1 O'Malley, The Jesuits, St. Ignatius, and the Counter Reformation (Jan. 1982) 

14/2 Dulles, St. Ignatius and Jesuit Theological Tradition (Mar. 1982) 

14/4 Gray, An Experience in Ignatian Government (Sept. 1982) 

14/5 Ivern, The Future of Faith and Justice: Review of Decree Four (Nov. 1982) 

15/1 O'Malley, The Fourth Vow in Its Ignatian Context (Jan. 1983) 

15/2 Sullivan and Faricy, On Making the Spiritual Exercises for Renewal of Jesuit Charisms (Mar. 


15/3-4 Padberg, The Society True to Itself: A Brief History of the 32nd General Congregation of the 

Society of Jesus (May-Sept. 1983) 

Tetlow, Jesuits' Mission in Higher Education (Nov. 1983-Jan. 1984) 

O'Malley, To Travel to Any Part of the World: Jeronimo Nodal and the Jesuit Vocation (Mar. 


16/3 O'Hanlon, Integration of Christian Practices: A Western Christian Looks East (May 1984) 

16/4 Carlson, "A Faith Lived Out of Doors": Ongoing Formation (Sept. 1984) 

17/1 Spohn, St. Paul on Apostolic Celibacy and the Body of Christ (Jan. 1985) 

17/2 Daley, "In Ten Thousand Places": Christian Universality and the Jesuit Mission (Mar. 1985) 

17/3 Tetlow, Dialogue on the Sexual Maturing of Celibates (May 1985) 

17/4 Spohn, Coleman, Clarke, Henriot, Jesuits and Peacemaking (Sept. 1985) 

17/5 Kinerk, When Jesuits Pray: A Perspective on the Prayer of Apostolic Persons (Nov. 1985) 

18/1 Gelpi, The Converting Jesuit (Jan. 1986). 

18/2 Beirne, Compass and Catalyst: The Ministry of Administration. (Mar. 1986) 

18/3 McCormick, Bishops as Teachers and Jesuits as Listeners (May 1986) 

18/5 Tetlow, The Transformation of Jesuit Poverty (Nov. 1986). 

19/1 Staudenmaier, United States Technology and Adult Commitment (Jan. 1987) 

19/2 Appleyard, Languages We Use: Talking about Religious Experience (Mar. 1987) 

19/5 Endean, Who Do You Say Ignatius Is? Jesuit Fundamentalism and Beyond (Nov. 1987) 

20/1 Brackley, Downward Mobility: Social Implications of St. Ignatius's Two Standards (Jan. 1988) 

20/2 Padberg, How We Live Where We Live (Mar. 1988) 

20/3 Hayes, Padberg, Staudenmaier, Symbols, Devotions, and Jesuits (May 1988) 

20/4 McGovern, Jesuit Education and Jesuit Spirituality (Sept. 1988) 

20/5 Barry, Jesuit Formation Today: An Invitation to Dialogue and Involvement (Nov. 1988) 

21/1 Wilson, Where Do We Belong? United States Jesuits and Their Memberships (Jan. 1989) 

21/2 Demoustier, Calvez, et al., The Disturbing Subject: The Option for the Poor (Mar. 1989) 

21/3 Soukup, Jesuit Response to the Communication Revolution (May 1989) 

22/1 Carroll, The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (Jan. 1990) 

22/2 Bracken, Jesuit Spirituality from a Process Prospective (March 1990) 

22/3 Shepherd, Fire for a Weekend: An Experience of the Exercises (May 1990) 

22/4 O'Sullivan, Trust Your Feelings, but Use Your Head (Sept. 1990) 

22/5 Coleman, A Company of Critics: Jesuits and the Intellectual Life (Nov. 1990) 

23/1 Houdek, The Road Too Often Traveled (Jan. 1991) 

23/2 DiGiacomo, Ministering to the Young (March 1991) 

23/3 Begheyn and Bogart, A Bibliography on St. Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises (May 1991) 

23/4 Shelton, Reflections on the Mental Health of Jesuits (Sept. 1991) 

23/5 Toolan, "Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire" (Nov. 1991) 

24/1 Houdek, Jesuit Prayer and Jesuit Ministry: Context and Possibilities (Jan. 1992) 

24/2 Smolich, Testing the Water: Jesuits Accompanying the Poor (March 1992) 

24/3 Hassel, Jesus Christ Changing Yesterday, Today, and Forever (May 1992) 

24/4 Shelton, Toward Healthy Jesuit Community Living (Sept. 1992) 

24/5 Cook, Jesus' Parables and the Faith That Does Justice (Nov. 1992) 

25/2 Donahue, What Does the Lord Require? (March 1993)— ONCE AGAIN AVAILABLE 

25/3 Padberg, Ignatius, the Popes, and Realistic Reverence (May 1993) 

25/4 Stahel, Toward General Congregation 34 (Sept. 1993) 

25/5 Baldovin, Christian Liturgy: An Annotated Bibliography (Nov. 1993) 

26/1 Tetlow, The Most Postmodern Prayer (Jan. 1994) 

26/2 Murphy, The Many Ways of Justice (March 1994) 

26/3 Staudenmaier, To Fall in Love with the World (May 1994) 

26/4 Foley, Stepping into the River (Sept. 1994) 

26/5 Landy, Myths That Shape Us (Nov. 1994) 

27/1 Daley, "To Be More like Christ" (Jan. 1995) 

27/2 Schmidt, Portraits and Landscapes (March 1995) 

27/3 Stockhausen, I'd Love to, but I Don't Have the Time (May 1995) 

27/4 Anderson, Jesuits in Jail, Ignatius to the Present (Sept. 1995) 

27/5 Shelton, Friendship in Jesuit Life (Nov. 1995) 

28/1 Begheyn, Bibliography on the History of the Jesuits (Jan. 1996) 

28/3 Clooney, In Ten Thousand Places, in Every Blade of Grass (May 1996) 

28/4 Starkloff, "As Different As Night and Day" (Sept. 1996) 

28/5 Beckett, Listening to Our History (Nov. 1996) 

29/1 Hamm, Preaching Biblical Justice (Jan. 1997) 

29/2 Padberg, The Three Forgotten Founders (March 1997) 

29/3 Byrne, Jesuits and Parish Ministry (May 1997) 

29/4 Keenan, Are Informationes Ethical? (Sept. 1997) 

29/5 Ferlita, The Road to Bethlehem-Is It Level or Winding? (Nov. 1997) 

30/1 Shore, The Vita Christi ofLudolph of Saxony and Its Influence on the Spiritual Exercises of 

Ignatius of Loyola 0an. 1998) 

30/2 Starkloff, "I'm No Theologian, but . . . (or So . . . J?" (March 1998) 

30/3 Torrens, The Word That Clamors (May 1998) 

30/4 Petrik, "Being Sent" (Sept. 1998) 

30/5 Jackson, "One and the Same Vocation" (Nov. 1998) 

31/1 Clifford, Scripture and the Exercises (Jan. 1999) 

31/2 Toohig, Physics Research, a Search for God (March 1999) 

31/3 Fagin, Fidelity in the Church— Then and Now (May 1999) 

31/4 Schineller, Pilgrim Journey of Ignatius (Sept. 1999) 

31/5 Fullam, Juana, S.J: Status of Women in the Society (Nov. 1999) 

32/1 Langan, The Good of Obedience in a Culture of Autonomy (Jan. 2000) 

32/2 Blake, Listen with Your Eyes (March 2000) 

32/3 Shelton, When a Jesuit Counsels Others (May 2000) 

32/4 Barry, Past, Present, and Future (Sept. 2000) 

32/5 Starkloff, Pilgrimage Re-envisioned (Nov. 2000) 

33/1 Kolvenbach et al., Faith, Justice, and American Jesuit Higher Education (Jan. 2001) 

33/2 Keenan, Unexpected Consequences: Persons's Christian Directory (March 2001) 

33/3 Arrupe, Trinitarian Inspiration of the Ignatian Charism (May 2001) 

33/4 Veale, Saint Ignatius Asks, "Are You Sure You Know Who I Am?" (Sept. 2001) 

33/5 Barry and Keenan, How Multicultural Are We? (Nov. 2001) 

34/1 Blake, "City of the Living God" (Jan. 2002) 

34/2 Clooney, A Charism for Dialog (March 2002) 

34/3 Rehg, Christian Mindfulness (May 2002) 

34/4 Brackley, Expanding the Shrunken Soul (Sept. 2002) 

34/5 Bireley, The Jesuits and Politics in Time of War (Nov. 2002) 

35/1 Barry, Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life (Jan. 2003) 

35/2 Madden/Janssens, The Training of Ours in the Sacred Liturgy (March 2003) 

35/3 Marcouiller, Archbishop with an Attitude (May 2003) 

35/4 Modras, A Jesuit in the Crucible (Sept. 2003) 

35/5 Lucas, Virtual Vessels, Mystical Signs (Nov. 2003) 

36/1 Rausch, Christian Life Communities for Jesuit University Students? (Spring 2004) 

36/2 Bernauer, The Holocaust and the Search for Forgiveness (Summer 2004) 

36/3 Nantais, "Whatever!" Is Not Ignatian Indifference (Fall 2004) 

36/4 Lukacs, The Incarnational Dynamic of the Constitutions (Winter 2004) 

37/1 Smolarski, Jesuits on the Moon (Spring 2005) 

37/2 McDonough, Clenched Fist or Open Hands? (Summer 2005) 

37/3 Torrens, Tuskegee Years (Fall 2005) 

37/4 O'Brien, Consolation in Action (Winter 2005) 

38/1 Schineller, In Their Own Words (Spring 2006) 

38/2 Jackson, "Something that happened to me at Manresa" (Summer 2006) 

38/3 Reiser, Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week (Fall 2006) 



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